M.L.K. Fisher: “When the wolf is at the door one should invite him in and have him for dinner.”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of M.F.K. Fisher, born Mary Frances Kennedy in Albion, Michigan. She’s the mother of the “food essay” and she always viewed cuisine as a metaphor for culture. She met her future husband, Alfred Young Fisher, at the University of Southern California. They spent the first three years of their marriage in Dijon, France, and she referred to that period as her “shaking and making years.”

She found an Elizabethan cookbook at her public library, and was inspired to try her hand at food writing. Her first book, Serve It Forth, was full of sensual, evocative prose and some critics assumed a man had written it. Her next book, How to Cook a Wolf, was addressed to Americans and Europeans dealing with rationing and food shortages during World War II. In it she wrote, “When the wolf is at the door one should invite him in and have him for dinner.” It has a few recipes, but it mostly contains meditations on the role of meals in relationships, and on sharing limited resources with spiritual abundance….

Author Anne Lamott wrote in the introduction to an edition of Fisher’s letters: “Hers was a face anyone would naturally want in the kitchen, a combination of fresh peach and aged potato. You could see the weight and warmth and softness of her cheeks — the tender part a mother would cup in her hands — now grown so old.”

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