Food Inspiration from M.F.K. Fisher


Whenever I just don’t feel like cooking, I turn to M.F.K. Fisher. Some of her recipes are strange rather than appealing, but her descriptions get me running to the kitchen. Read these from The Art of Eating:

“It was a big round peach pie, still warm from Old Mary’s oven and the ride over the desert. It was deep, with lots of juice, and bursting with ripe peaches picked that noon. …Father cut the pie in three pieces and put them on white soup places in front of us, and then spooned out the thick cream. We ate with spoons too, blissful…” (p. 358)

“Small brown roasted chickens lay on every plate, the best ones I have ever eaten, done for me that afternoon by Madame Doellenbach of the Vieux Vivey and not chilled since but cooled in their own intangibly delicate juices. There was a salad of mountain lettuces. There was honest bread. …But what really mattered, what piped the high unforgettable tune of perfection, were the peas, which came from their hot pot onto our thick china plates in a cloud, a kind of miasma, of everything that anyone could ever want from them, even in a dream.” (p. 666)

“Breakfast, then, can be toast. It can be piles of toast, generously buttered, and a bowl of honey or jam…” (p. 193)

So simple, just describing food, and yet she makes me remember why I love food, why I own shelves full of cookbooks, why I actually like going to the grocery store and become delirious at the thought of the farmer’s market. Food is basic, and simple, and we take it for granted, and even grow weary of its three-meals-a-day monotony. Taking it a step back, viewing it from a distance, listening to the words that describe the smells and textures and tastes, we remember that it is more than necessity. It is good, a gift, a blessing on the repetition of our days, a sweet savor to lift the mundane up to miraculous.