M.F.K. Fisher’s How To Cook a Wolf: How to Cook a Wolf is my all-time favorite cookbook, probably because it so obviously combines cooking and recipes with a distinct period of American history (World War II) AND exquisite writing. For example, Fisher writes of “half-forgotten luxuries and half-remembered delicate impossible dishes” like “waking from a dream of your loved one, and finding perfume on your lips.” How to Cook a Wolf is about coping with the necessary economy during World War II, but her last chapter, “How to Practice True Economy” is a recollection of some of the dishes impossible to cook under rationing, like shrimp pate. Here’s one great recipe from that chapter, a recipe that Fisher says “was made often in Williamsburg, before there was any need of restoration”: Colonial Dessert.
Here’s the cookbook: How to Cook a Wolf, 1942, 1946, M. F. K. Fisher
How to Cook a Wolf: One of the most sought after of all American cookbooks! How to Cook a Wolf, by M.F.K. Fisher. Wonderful “plain cooking” recipes, plus clever, witty, and warm conversational text that made people feel better about cooking while under World War II rationing. First published by Duell, Sloan & Pierce in 1942. This copy is from the 1944 Forum Books Edition, World Publishing Company, Cleveland, Ohio. Clearly marked “First Printing, September, 1944.” Hard cover, 261 pp. No dust jacket. Cover has some slight edge wear. This copy was published during World War II, under civilian printing conditions, so the paper was of relatively poor quality. I don’t think this book was ever read, but–while the pages are in otherwise perfect condition–they have become uniformly tanned, due to the paper quality.
Art of Eating, M. F .K. Fisher, 1954. Hard cover with dust jacket. 749 pages. This edition contains five complete books in one volume. With an Appreciation by James Beard. First collected of Fisher’s major works: Serve It Forth, Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, The Gastronomical Me, and An Alphabet for Gourmets. Published by The World Publishing Company, New York. 1954. Presumed first edition, first printing, no other being mentioned. Excellent vintage condition. Square and firm with all pages and binding clean and tight; spine is straight with no tilts; outer cloth panels are free of any soiling; light shelf wear to spine edges; stain at top page edges. No previous owner’s writing, stamps, name labels or bookplates; No rips or tears. No pages are torn, written-on, highlighted or dog-eared. Great condition! Dust jacket is a mess. Excellent collection from one of America’s best and most famous culinary writers! Definitely gift quality!
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