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Antique Recipes

M.F.K. Fisher’s How To Cook a Wolf: One Great Recipe!

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

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.

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