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Writing about 'the more insistent hungers'

Next month will mark the centennial of the birth of eminent US food writer M.F.K. Fisher, author of more than 20 books including "Consider the Oyster," "How to Cook a Wolf," and "The Gastronomical Me." Today we are so accustomed to personal essays about food and the pleasures of both preparing it and eating it that it is easy to forget that Fisher was a pioneer of this genre.

You don't have to be a foodie to savor the distinctive pleasures of Fisher's narratives. Fisher was once asked why she wrote about food and her pert answer was, "Like most other people, I'm hungry." Digging a little deeper, however, she was quick to admit that (like most other people) she had a concern with feeding "the wildest, most insistent hungers" and it is these other hungers that leave their true mark on her work.

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"Women don't write that way," she was once told and that's apparently why she used her initials rather than the name "Mary Frances" in creating her literary persona. If you are a reader and hers is a persona with which you are not yet familiar, you should consider celebrating the centennial by adding an MFK Fisher volume to your reading list this summer.


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