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M. F. K. Fisher among the Pots and Pans

Celebrating Her Kitchens

Joan Reardon (Author), Amanda Hesser (Foreword)

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Paperback, 184 pages
ISBN: 9780520261686
October 2009
$23.95, £16.95
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From her very first book, Serve It Forth, M.F.K. Fisher wrote about her ideal kitchen. In her subsequent publications, she revisited the many kitchens she had known and the foods she savored in them to express her ideas about the art of eating. M.F.K. Fisher among the Pots and Pans, interspersed with recipes and richly illustrated with original watercolors, is a retrospective of Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher's life as it unfolded in those homey settings—from Fisher's childhood in Whittier, California, to the kitchens of Dijon, where she developed her taste for French foods and wines; from the idyllic kitchen at Le Paquis to the isolation of her home in Hemet, California; and finally to her last days in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. M.F.K. Fisher was a solitary cook who interpreted the scenario of a meal in her own way, and M.F.K. Fisher among the Pots and Pans provides a deeply personal glimpse of a woman who continues to mystify even as she commands our attention.
Foreword by Amanda Hesser
Introduction

i Whittier and Laguna Beach, 1908–1922
ii At Boarding School, 1923–1928
iii From Dijon to Eagle Rock, 1929–1936
iv At Le Paquis, 1936–1939
v At Bareacres, 1939–1949
vi California and Provence, 1949–1961
vii In St. Helena, 1961–1970
viii Last House, 1971–1980
ix The Lodestar, 1981–1992

Notes
Joan Reardon is a culinary historian and author of Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M. F. K. Fisher and M. F. K. Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters: Celebrating the Pleasures of the Table, among other books. Avram Dumitrescu is an Irish artist and illustrator specializing in food, architecture, and animals. His work has been featured in the Southern Review, Gastronomica, The Writer magazine, and the Ulster Tatler.
“Joan Reardon sketches a brisk, charming biography of the beloved food writer’s life, through the lens of where and what she cooked.”—O At Home
“Deftly told. . . focuses on M.F.K. Fisher the cook and reveals the origins of her awareness of the power and pleasure of food.”—Library Journal
“Reardon delivers a history that, like Fisher’s famous dishes, is at once simple and hugely enjoyable.”—Philadelphia Inquirer
“The charm and timeless inspiration are immediately accessible in this gorgeous volume.”—New York Newsday
“Culinary historian Joan Reardon has written an informed and elegant treatise on the kitchens in which Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, probably the greatest food writer of the 20th century, worked and cooked.”—National Post
“Charming tribute.”—Orange Coast Magazine
“A straightforward biography summarizing key points in Mary Frances' life and complicated relationships, but through the intriguing slant of the many homes she lived in, particularly the kitchens she cooked in, from California to France. Irish illustrator Avram Dumitrescu paints warm vignettes of her kitchens, imparting a friendly glow to the book, and complimenting photos of Mary Frances. Whether it be the cover illustration of her kitchen in Hemet, CA, or those in her St. Helena and Glen Ellen homes, one gets a glimpse into Mary Frances, the cook.”—San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Insightful. . . Needs to be enjoying a primo position on your bookshelf.”—The Wine News
“A reissue most worth paying attention to.”—Eat Me Daily
“If Fisher’s name is unfamiliar to you, I’m not surprised. [Her] many books and magazine articles resulted in a cult of devotees, but never the adoration that Mastering the Art of French Cooking brought Julia Child. . . . Once you discover Mary Frances’ enchanting works, I think you’ll become a fan. . . . Through her life she celebrated the ‘triumph of an imaginative palate over the precise pages of a cookbook.’ Many of M.F.K.’s kitchens consisted of a hot plate, and, in one, a small tin oven and sink, sometimes located ‘out on the landing.” So she shopped every day, and cooked with the seasons.”—Leader
“A quintessential voice in American culinary writing, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher lived in more than 20 homes, often with cramped kitchens that occasionally had no refrigerator or oven. Luckily, Fisher's humor and ingenuity blossomed whether she was cooking in kitchens that were sparse or well appointed. In this biography, author Joan Reardon provides an intimate look at the eclectic homes that were the celebrated food writer's inspiration.”—Elisa Huang Bon Appetit
"For decades, food-lovers have taken enormous pleasure in the stories, the characters and the inimitable prose style of M. F. K. Fisher. Now we discover the kitchens and the dinner tables—the very meals that inspired M. F. K. Fisher to write. In this insightful and evocative book, Joan Reardon distills Fisher's life to its culinary essence and reveals her to us anew."—Laura Shapiro, author of Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century

"Reardon's commentary reveals an intimate understanding of the personality of M. F. K. Fisher. Few who enjoy food and read M. F. K. Fisher's work do not thirst to know more about this woman, and knowing about the places she lived and cooked gives a greater understanding of her writings, her feelings, her passions and frustrations."—Jerry Anne DiVecchio, Senior Food Editor, Sunset Magazine

“I've always admired M. F. K. Fisher's gastronomical ingenuity and vivid culinary imagination. In this rich portrait, Joan Reardon eloquently shares with us Mary Frances's great lesson: to cook well, you need only the most elementary kitchen, a mortar and pestle, and full awareness of your own five senses.”—Alice Waters

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