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Author Fisher's Book
A Considerable Town
Like her essay portraits of Dijon and Aix, in this 1978 book Fisher collected impressions and anecdotes of Marseille. There is a little ancient history, nods to the rough seaport town's trade in drugs and prostitution, moments from throughout Fisher's acquaintance with Marseille's avenues, cafes, hotels, and walkways from her first visit as a young bride in 1929 to her last in 1976. There are no outstanding stories in this one (well, the tale of a last s...
An Alphabet for Gourmets
In a somewhat peripatetic collection dating from 1949, Fisher assigns one letter-subject to each chapter ("A is for dining Alone" ... "G is for Gluttony" ... "W is for Wanton") as a method of pleasantly passing the time with assorted anecdotes and recipes. This is not a high-falutin' selection -- included are such delicacies as Fried Egg Sandwiches and Milk Toast -- though there are some interesting remarks on romancing with food and the nature of bachel...
Consider the Oyster
Fisher's second book, dated 1941, is slim and specific: It's about oysters. How they live, where they're found, but mostly how many different ways one may eat them. There are lots of recipes (even one on how to make a pearl!), and a few anecdotes relating to oysters' reputation as aphrodisiacs, supposed source of poison death, etc. All related with Fisher's usual pleasantly witty and sophisticated voice, but one of her slighter efforts. Recommended mainl...
How to Cook a Wolf
The title refers to the times when "the wolf is at the door." Fisher provides hints -- mostly but not exclusively culinary -- about how to make do, and even flourish, in lean times. (The book was published in the early years of World War II, during food and fuel shortages, and rationing.) There are plenty of recipes, from the absurd ("Sludge") to the sublime (Fruit aux Sept Liqueurs), all presented in Fisher's light-hearted, conversational style. Chapter...
Serve It Forth
This book, Fisher's first, appeared in 1937. It features her light touch, with essays about various aspects of the dining experience -- from dining alone and "vegetable snobbery" to preparation of escargots -- and several wonderful set-pieces. Yes, there are some recipes, and also a casual structure that describes dining practices through the centuries, from ancient Greece and Rome to the present. One story, "The Standing and the Waiting," is simply the ...
In many but not all of the stories in this 1984 collection, Fisher addresses aging and death. Some are clearly autobiographical -- a lovely escape with her young daughters to Morro Bay, where a crusty fisherman charms them all and gentle proposes marriage; another trip with her daughters on an Atlantic cruise ship, at the conclusion of which an elderly female passenger dies; a startling but gentle encounter with an itinerant rug seller which might be reg...
The Boss Dog
In 1991, 54 years after the publication of her lovely first book, _Serve It Forth_, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher published this light bonbon about an American mother and her two daughters (ages 8 and 11), and their year in the French town of Aix-en-Provence. (The time period is early 1950s.) The title character weaves through the narrative while the humans watch and speculate on his motives and activities, and the locals interact with all four and one ano...
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