Thursday, April 9, 2009
It is a perfect spring day in New York and I am reading the best food book. M.F.K Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf couldn't be any more perfect. This is not just because her writing absolutely fits my personality (sassy, honest, humorous, quick yet classy--all things I strive to be! and her prose are downright laughable but so lucid), but it is also an incredible resource, as it is a book about how to conserve/eat well and what to eat during 'hard times'. It contains morevoer a great number of fabulous recipes and cooking techniques. Originally published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1942 as part of her "Art of Eating" series, this book threads the needle between a love of food and a lack of money. I am devouring it. Here are some snippets I just adored:
"One of the saving graces of the less-monied people of the world has always been, theoretically, that they were forced to eat more unadulterated, less dishonest food than the rich-bitches. It begins to look as if that were a lie. IN our furious defforts to prove that all men are created equal we encourage our radios, our movies, above all our weekly and monthly magazines to set up a fantastic ideal in the minds of family cooks, so that everywhere earnest and eager women are whipping themselves and their budgets to the bone to proved three"balanced" meals a day for their men and children.
It is true, without argument of any kind, that s a people we know much more about correct human nutrition than we did even a few years ago. But we are somewhat confused by all the exciting names [riboflavin, monosodium glutamate, arsofinibarborundum...all fine things, when used with a modicum of nonhysteria] and more so by the solemn exhortations of the 'food editors' of all the slick magazines we read to improve ourselves.
We want, and not only because we are told to but because we sense instinctively that it is right, to give Mortimer III the vitamins and minerals he should absorb in order to be a find sturdy little mortimer indeed. But what a rat race it is...This bugbear of meal-balancing is hard not only on the wills and wishes of the great American family, but is pure hell on the pocketbook. There are countless efficient-looking pages in 'home magazines' each month, marked into twenty-eight or so squares with a suggested menu for each meal of the week, and then one supposedly tempting dish to prepare every day. The lead usually cries, 'Let's economize, Mothers! Here is how you can do it for only 39 cents per person! Try it and help Uncle Sam!'...
It is disheartening too. Now, of all our times in our history, we should be using our minds as well as our hearts in order to survive...to live gracefully if we live at all... We must change...instead of combining a lot of dull and sometimes actively hostile foods into one routine meal after another, three times a day and every day, year after year, in the earnest hope that you are being a good provider, try this simple plan: Balance the day, not each meal."