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September 2013



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Starving artists

Starving Artists in the Kitchen--one of my favorite inspiring books!

the first in a series!

Did you ever have one of those books that stuck in your mind literally for decades? An old favorite you visit again and again, for inspiration and information and just plain pleasure in reading? M.F.K. Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf is one of those for me. Written during hard times and rationing during WWII, revised a decade later, in this delightful book Fisher managed to combine humor, courage, common sense and some elegant, eloquent writing. I loved it when I first found it, when we were hungry back-to-the-land-ers in the 70s, and since I've been thinking about our Starving Artist series and how many areas we have in common, I just had to dig it out.

And of course, I couldn't find it, so went searching online!

I discovered--to my delight!--that it's been reissued with several of Fisher's other food-oriented books, all delightful reads--it's now under one cover as The Art of Eating, and I'm enjoying it again now every bit as much as I did 30 years ago when I first bought my secondhand copy of How to Cook a Wolf. (Yes, I'm a bit long in the tooth, why do you ask?! >:-P ) In this 750-page 50th Anniversary edition, you'll get the Wolf--of course referring to the wolf at the door!--as well as Serve it Forth, Consider the Oyster, The Gastronomical Me and An Alphabet for Gourmets.

That, my friends, is a DEAL.

As we find ourselves in yet another period of economic upheaval (I've lived through a lot of those in my rather long and satisfying life!), the wonderfully-written humor and good sense in this book is not only a delight but a rather badly needed shot in the arm (or maybe a kick in the pants, if we should happen to need it!)

Sure, we may have to cut back as we find we're stuck at the level we're in, jobs are harder to find, or we lose the one we have. Investments, if you were lucky enough to have them, go south. Banks have gone under (thank goodness we have the F.D.I.C., now!) Sales have suffered--here too.

We may find ourselves unable to skip happily through the grocery store, thoughtlessly buying those goodies that seemed so absolutely necessary a few short years ago.

But we don't have to feel sorry for ourselves, and nutrition needn't suffer. Courage, coupled with humor and good, sensible--even hard-headed--advice from Ms. Fisher can see us through with good spirits as WELL as good health.

What can I say? The book makes me laugh out loud! (And then head for the kitchen to whip up something delicious but frugal!)

I'll share some of my own variations on her recipes in coming weeks--and a few of her tips for getting by on less, saving food, fuel, time and vitamins while we're at it.

But no one puts it as well as Fisher--if you can scrape together the pennies, this book will save you far more than the purchase price, and you'll enjoy it as you go!

If you prefer to stick with the original book and forgo the pleasures of the expanded Fisher, you can still buy How to Cook a Wolf by itself. (I'm glad I didn't, though...for only a bit more I've got a lot of reading pleasure ahead of me.)

As you know, in our Starving Artist series we aim to include good food, nutrition, great taste, and frugality in this series, as the name suggests--and I was surprised to find that I hadn't done the brief reviews on the cookbooks, gardening and nutrition books so far in my online bookstore! Sorry about that--I took care of that this morning, and you'll find more HERE.


I've been really busy with gearing up for my online watercolor pencil class, which starts tomorrow, and with questions from the editor of my new North Light book (Watercolor Tricks & Techniques: 75 New and Classic Painting Secrets ), so haven't had time to make the art for the many recipes we have stockpiled for this series! I promise, when things calm down a bit, we've got lots more to offer that's healthful, inexpensive, and DELICIOUS.   Meanwhile, check out Ms. Fisher, online, in your permanent library at home, or at the public library!