_How to Cook a Wolf_

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

M.F.K. Fisher, widely regarded as the first foodie writer, was simply a well-educated and wealthy American woman who liked to write about what she calls "gastronomy" or fine dining. Though she lived in Europe for some years with her first and second husbands, she was not a snob, but truly a food enthusiast, a gourmandise. She writes as eloquently of terrines as she does fried egg sandiwches; she loves food in all its forms and cuisines without regard to class.

And one of her classics, How to Cook a Wolf, is a guide to frugal cooking (hunger is personified as a wolf that must be kept at bay) during food rationing of World War II. Because she is from a far removed generation, and because she mentions the thrifty habits of her grandmother, it's a book of frugality that stretches back to a cooking past I was quite unaware of, which included hay boxes and sheets of metal to stretch precious fuel costs in maintaining a literal fire.

There is even a recipe for homespun bar soap, using repurposed grease no longer fit for food. I suppose a cook from that time period would know when that was.

And she waxes on about the benefits of baking bread, which is exactly how I feel about it, more than sixty years later, and could have been posted to a blog on bread-baking from this morning:

It does not cost much. It is pleasant: one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with peace, and the house filled with one of the world's sweetest smells. But it takes a lot of time. If you can find that, the rest is easy. And if you cannot right find it, make it, for probably there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.

How can you not try baking bread after that?

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.frugalculture.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/122

Leave a comment