Since nobody seems to feel like giving me any concrete grant info yet, I get to write here two days in a row! I posted a slightly different version of this review of MFK Fisher's The Gastronomical Me on goodreads (which I'm already obsessed with), but I had been meaning to write about it here too so here it is.
This is, in theory, a book about food. But a lot of it's not actually about food. There's a lot of talk about A) alcohol, B) random events in the author's life, and C) traveling on boats. But for all that, I liked most of it fairly well. MFK Fisher wrote about food in the 30's and 40's (at least in this particular book) shamelessly. Apparently, initial readers thought her essays must have been written by a man because the style was so forthcoming. Her writing is, for me, very reminiscent of comfort food, actually. (I actually looked this book up because I once read an essay by Fisher about the joys of mashed potatoes and ketchup that was one of the most vivid, sensuous things I've ever read.) She writes about good wine, good liquor, good cheese, particularly good meals, waiters, and the atmospheres in which she experienced all of these things in a very personal but not intimidating way. I haven't tasted the vast majority of what she writes about (and probably won't for financial or meat-content-related reasons), but she made me feel okay with that and like I could still just sit back and imagine the tastes and textures. That said, in between all the food is a lot of weird stuff: homicidal cooks, weird facts about her physical reactions to sea travel, anecdotes about her landladies and husbands and World War II and naked exchange students and all manner of other things. Some of it's interesting and pairs well with the food stuff, but some of it is just jarring. Ah well.