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The Gastronomical Me by M. F. K. Fisher
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The Gastronomical Me (edition 1989)

by M. F. K. Fisher

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3541130,811 (4.12)11
Member:whitsunweddings
Title:The Gastronomical Me
Authors:M. F. K. Fisher
Info:North Point Press (1989), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Food Writing, U.S.A, Twentieth Century, Read in 2012, Female Author, Non-Fiction, 1940s, Autobiography

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The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher

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Didn't get to it
  Lisa02476 | Apr 12, 2014 |
Really great book. The first few chapters and the last few, especially, were absolutely wonderful. Which is not to say that it drug in the middle—it really didn't. If it had all been as good as those chapters on either end, it would have been a nearly perfect book. Still, I loved it as it was.

The book is a memoir, told almost exclusively through descriptions of food, eating, etc. In case you're not familiar with MFK Fisher, that's the kind of writing she does—it's about food, but it's about so much more. I guess you could say (and in fact she does say at several points) that she's speaking also about metaphorical hunger. True enough, but still it doesn't at all capture the work. She's talking about what it means to grow up, to become yourself, to fall in love and back out again (and back one more time), to be a woman, to travel, to survive a spouse, even what it means to live in a world on the brink of war (the memoir covers her life from 1912–1941). And other things besides, but those are the ones that come to mind at the moment. And along the way, she has plenty to say about the food.

I loved the book. I've also found myself quite a bit hungrier as I've read it, of course. :) That part's not going to go away. I read it for an online book group, alongside Ruth Reichl's Garlic & Sapphires (which I also enjoyed, though not as much as this one). ( )
  spoko | Nov 14, 2013 |
This is the way food writing should be done. In her careful, spare, elegant way, Fisher uses food to write about everything else that means anything in life: love, war, death, and second chances. One of the most beautiful works of modern English. ( )
  paperloverevolution | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is close to a century old, and it did not strike me as at all dated! I was completely entranced by Fisher's story, and even more by her writing. I'm so tempted to read about her, but I think I want to read everything she's written before I do that. Then I can go back, and re-read them all again! ( )
  love2laf | Aug 26, 2010 |
I really wanted to love MFK Fisher's The Gastronomical Me. Fisher is touted as the doyenne of modern food writing, I love food writing, and have never read anything by Fisher. The Gastronomical Me is an autobiographical look at her early life and her discovery of French food. She is in and out of France in the years leading up to WWII, which lends an additional layer of interest to her stories.

But. But. As I read, I found I really didn't like her - I didn't like her at all. She comes off as smug, somewhat arrogant, laughing at herself but especially others about their food gaffes and personal foibles. There was little of the delight in learning about food that one finds in Julia Child or even Anthony Bourdain. I made it about two-thirds through the book and just couldn't continue. When the next book in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series came in at the library, I gladly abandoned The Gastronomical Me in favor of a rollicking sea adventure. ( )
1 vote Talbin | Jun 17, 2010 |
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The first thing I remember tasting and then wanting to taste again is the grayish-pink fuzz my grandmother skimmed from a spitting kettle of strawberry jam.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0865473927, Paperback)

M. F. K. Fisher sees life stomach first. The New York Times said "She spit Puritan restraint out like a dull wine and made a life of savoring the slow, sensual pleasures of the table." And between meals, she savored the pleasures of men and travel, too. She recalls California in 1912, life in France in the 1930s, and traveling solo to Mexico in 1941. Her first oyster is a beautiful story, about adolescence and the glory of the briny mollusk, and her humor is as forthright as her taste at table.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:47 -0400)

The Gastronomical Me is a chronicle of the authors passionate embrace of a whole new way of eating, drinking, and celebrating the senses. As she recounts memorable meals shared with an assortment of eccentric and fascinating characters, set against a backdrop of mounting pre-war tensions, we witness the formation not only of her taste but of her character and her prodigious talent.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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