An extravagant hunger : the passionate years of M.F.K. Fisher by Anne Zimmerman

M.F.K. Fisher’s writing interests were many, but it was her food writing that put her on the map.  Fisher’s amazing manner of describing the pleasures of eating and of food preparation paved the way for Julia Child and Ruth Reichl, among others.  She had an extraordinary ability to wake the reader up to the possibilities of taste and texture.

An Extravagant Hunger chronicles Fisher’s childhood and formative years in France during the 1930s, her loveless first marriage, and her emergence as a fine writer who often downplayed her own talent in deference to her husband Al Fisher, an aspiring poet and academic.  This book expresses well the frustration that M.F.K. Fisher must have felt when trying to assert her creative leanings in the largely male-dominated publishing world of the time.  This may well explain the ambiguity of her writing name; she encountered publishers in her early writing years who had no clue she was a woman. 

Fisher was a prolific writer throughout her life and wrote about many things besides food, but her excursions into culinary life were what she is best remembered for.  Her works are no mere cookbooks, but chatty companions that challenge the reader to not just eat, but savor.

An Extravagant Hunger is a good introduction into Fisher’s formative period.  If you are interested in some of her own work, particularly the times covered in this book, then here is a selected list that the library has:

Here Let Us Feast:  A Book of Banquets

Long Ago In France:  The Years In Dijon

Stay Me Oh Comfort Me:  Journals And Stories, 1933-1941

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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