Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Art of Eating

"I believe that one of the most dignified ways we are capable of, to assert and then reassert our dignity in the face of poverty and war's fears and pains, is to nourish ourselves with all possible skill, delicacy, and ever increasing enjoyment."- MFK Fisher

I feel better! I've been layin' around feeling grumpy for the past three days. Summer colds are the worst, standing around in hundred degree heat trying to figure out if I'm sweating from the weather or a fever.

I took advantage of this time to reread The Art of Eating by MFK Fisher a book I've been meaning to get to for the past few months. When I was researching food blogs for MM I noticed that a number of the female bloggers I was investigating had been compared to MFK Fisher. At first I took this to mean that said bloggers were super talented writers. I have since decided that the Fisher brush is one that blog critics like to paint most any female food blogger with.

This is a rather unfortunate trend. Fisher's prose is so absolutely beautiful and succinct that I would be wary to compare her to almost anyone. Though her self-confidence comes through in her writing she also knows when to alert her reader to her own naivete concerning a food item or geographic region. In this way Fisher presents herself as both a gourmand and an average Joe. While, she was clearly particular about how food should be consumed and prepared, she never purports to know it all.

The Art of Eating also serves as an important historical document. Throughout her tales she mentions details about both World Wars and how they affected and shaped the European regions she called home. How to Cook a Wolf provides tips for eating and entertaining during blackouts, air raids, and fuel rationing. The Gastronomical Me chronicles the author's culinary development from childhood through middle age describing her loves, travels, and meals.

A truly important work whether it be art, literature, or music usually exists in this way. Whether it challenges cultural norms or simply serves its time in a particularly perfect way, work of great importance often finds its place in history fairly snugly. More importantly, if the work is very strong it will transcend it's time and The Art of Eating has done just that.

Fisher's greatest work found its way onto many a top 100 list at the close of the 20th century for good reason, a detail that the critics from Time and various other publications might want to take into account next time they decide to throw her name around.

1 comment:

Mary: said...

I just found your blog after visiting friend Dave Lane's exhibit with him and another friend. The enormity of imagination represented in his exhibit at the Nelson Galery in UCDavis was impressive. I also really like this blog - beautiful photography!