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How to Cook a Wolf by M. F. K. Fisher

How to Cook a Wolf (1942)

by M. F. K. Fisher

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4221038,041 (3.95)35

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This was originally written during WWII and re-edited in the 50s with a lot of extra commentary. The recipes are old fashioned and strange. I loved it when she complained about how disgusting processed cheese food is. Still is! So if you ever want to know how to prepare a calf's head... (January 28, 2006) ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Not exactly what I was expecting- but then again, I really wasn't all that informed. ( )
  KatrinkaV | Oct 29, 2016 |
This was written in 1942, to help people cope with the shortages during the war. It also has some notes inserted by the author ten years later as a retrospect, which can be amusing.

I wasn't blown away, but it is a product of its time. She seems to think she is speaking to and for every homemaker, but I don't think she has a lot to say to the farmer's wives or lower middle class women. She rather assumes that everyone has a fond memory of living or traveling abroad before the war, or of flitting to cocktail parties, etc. Also, I did not find most of the recipes appealing. However, her philosophy on food, our enjoyment of it and our treatment of it is very modern, interesting and instructive. It was also interesting to read about some of the food shortage issues which I hadn't known about for WWII. For instance, she mentioned fish, because so many of the fishing waters had been mined, the Italian fishing fleet out of San Francisco had been stopped, and the Japanese workers in the canneries had been placed in custody.

By the end of the book, I was tired of it. Tired of her "wit" of her assumptions and her tone. Still, I will read more of her writing to see where it leads me. ( )
  MrsLee | Mar 22, 2014 |
First published in the early years of WWII, Fisher's book provides advice about how to eat economically and well during lean times. More than a cookbook but not quite a collection of essays, How to Cook a Wolf incorporates the best elements of both. While I didn't enjoy this one as much as Consider the Oyster, it still beautifully evoked a time period and made me wish I was of a temperament and inclination to cook all our meals from scratch. Some wonderful-sounding recipes, too. ( )
  lycomayflower | Jan 1, 2014 |
I was fortunate enough to grow up during peaceful times, at least in my part of the country in the time frame when this book was written. I have never known a life where wartime shortages caused me to think in terms of cutting back and cutting corners due to lean times rather than being just plain ol’ broke.

M.F.K. Fisher wrote this brilliant narrative to inspire those daunted by their meager supplies but it’s continued to be a good read in present times. How to Cook a Wolf lets the reader dream and concoct edible meals from limited supplies. Gets creative juices flowing.

Fisher was one of the early writers of books featuring food based stories; this type of writing commands quite a bit of shelf space at our local bookstores these days. Foodie lit. Thank you to Fisher for being ahead of your time in this genre. While some of the recipes are dated the prose is not and grabs your attention straight away.

Perhaps living in France in the 1930s awakened her passion for food as well as slanting her writing in the details of the meals. How could you live in France and not have a culinary inspiration? Food, travel and lovely stories can be counted on in any of Fisher’s books.

Fortunately the economy isn’t so far into the toilet that we need to cook the proverbial wolf at our door……….but I am hanging on to this book anyway. You never know!

Of all the intriguing recipes in her book I will settle on baked apples. Growing up we had several apple trees and my mother, another ingenious cook who made miracles with meager supplies, would use the fruit so many different ways. She made our applesauce, apple tarts, pies, roasted apples with pork and of course….baked apples. My father slathered the baked apples with way too much vanilla ice cream.

Baked apples

Apples…almost any kind, although Delicious are delicious.
Brown sugar (1 TB for each apple)
Cinnamon, nutmeg
Raisins, dates, leftover jam butter

Jam Apple

“Core the apples, and put in a baking dish. Fill each hole with the fruit or jam, and put a dab of butter on top if you want to. Mix the sugar with enough water to fill the baking dish almost to the top, and bake slowly until the apples are tender.” ( )
  SquirrelHead | Oct 31, 2013 |
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'There's a whining at the threshold, There's a scratching at the floor. To work! To work! In Heaven's name! The wolf is at the door!

C.P.S. Gilman
For Lawrence Paul
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In spite of all the talk and study about our next years, and all the silent ponderings about what lies within them for our sons... it seems plain to us that many things are wrong in the present ones that can be, must be changed.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865473366, Paperback)

Written to inspire courage in those daunted by wartimes shortages, How to Cook a Wolf continues to rally cooks during times of plenty, reminding them that providing sustenance requires more than putting food on the table. M. F. K. Fisher knew that the last thing hungry people needed were hints on cutting back and making do. Instead, she gives her readers license to dream, to experiment, to construct adventurous and delicious meals as a bulwark against a dreary, meager present. Her fine prose provides reason in itself to draw our chairs close to the hearth; we can still enjoy her company and her exhortations to celebrate life by eating well.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

M.F.K. Fisher's guide to living happily even in trying times, which was first published during the Second World War in the days of ration cards; includes more than seventy recipes based on food staples and features sections such as "How to Keep Alive" and "How to Comfort Sorrow."… (more)

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