MFK Fisher is a giant among food writers, known for her wit, her clarity of style, her acerbic wonderfulness. It’s almost impossible to choose from her many books and essays, but today I give you a little excerpt from a 1971 piece called “Grandmother’s Nervous Stomach,” in which she discusses the poverty of her grandmother’s taste in food—she describes the woman, whom she loved, as “stern and cold and disapproving of all earthly pleasure, because that was the way she had been raised to think a Christian and a lady should be”—and how she learned from it what really mattered to her when it came to eating (and, as always with Fisher, many other things). You can find it in her selected journals, every page of which is a delight.
Increasingly, I saw, felt, understood the importance, especially between people who love and trust one another, of a full sharing of one of our three main hungers, which are for food, for love, and for shelter. We must satisfy them in order to survive as creatures. It is out duty, having been created.
So why not, I asked myself at what may have been a somewhat early age, why not enjoy it all? Since we must eat to live, why not make the best of it and see that it is a pleasure, something more than a mere routine necessity like breathing?