Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Mary Frances comes of age

I've started to read the works of M.F.K. Fisher, considered the first great food writer in the US, and thought I'd share this scene from The Measure of My Powers. No preacher, football coach, or Oscar winner has ever said anything so inspirational. Fisher has just graduated high school and is spending a few days with her uncle in Chicago, "who knew more about the pleasures of the table than anyone I had yet been with." But, intimidated by the big city, she takes little interest in food until their last meal together:
...I looked at my menu, really looked with all my brain, for the first time. "Just a minute, please," I said, very calmly. I stayed quite cool, like a surgeon when he begins an operation, or maybe a chess player opening a tournament. Finally I said to Uncle Evans, without batting an eye, "I'd like iced consomme, please, and then sweetbreads sous cloche and a watercress salad ... and I'll order the rest later." I remember that he sat back in his chair a little while, and I knew he was proud of me and very fond of me. I was too. And never since then have I let myself say, or even think, "Oh, anything," about a meal, even if I had to eat it alone, with death in the house or in my heart.

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