BAD BOY BOURDAIN’S rant about expensive foodstuffs got me to thinking about M.F.K. Fisher and her eloquent instructions for war time cooking (see How to Cook a Wolf, copyright 1942).
I may still be employed (for a few days), but I’m already panicking about keeping the wolf at bay (food, as you may have guessed, is never something I leave to chance). Thank goodness I still have bookshelves piled high with the wise words of cooks who have lived through much harder times.
The well-traveled writings of Paddleford and Fisher, especially, are offering up deeper comfort than ever before. Fisher’s descriptions of leisurely lunches in quaint French auberges — which I found so romantically intriguing in the past — have now given way to a fascination with instructions for grinding up cheap meat and whole grain into vitamin-rich pastes.
I hope I’ll never have to buy a bottle of Kitchen Bouquet to color up my own paste concoctions (a la M.F.K).
If need be, I’d rather sell off my cookbook collection.
Tony Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook would be one of the first to go. I’ve owned the book for years, yet it has never inspired me to cook a single recipe. For nourishment, I much prefer Mr. Bourdain’s serious writing: Typhoid Mary, the story of America’s most infamous cook, is at the top of my all-time-favorites list.
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