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M. F. K. Fisher, Julia Child and Alice Waters: Celebrating the Pleasures of the Table

M. F. K. Fisher, Julia Child and Alice Waters: Celebrating the Pleasures of the Table

by Joan Reardon

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this interesting but uneven book, Reardon (Oysters: A Culinary Celebration) profiles three women who decisively changed the way Americans think about food: M.F.K. Fisher, whose wide-ranging curiosity about cuisine and cooking was given rein in idiosyncratic, elegant prose; Julia Child, who brought academic rigor and a beguiling lack of pretention to her authoritative cookbooks and various television series; and Alice Waters, whose influential Berkeley, Calif., restaurant, Chez Panisse, emphasized the pleasures of fresh, simply prepared, organic food served at its peak. (``Once you taste a tomato in the summer, you won't eat a tomato in the winter.'') The three portraits overlap a bit awkwardly, and revelations of private triumphs and crises-Fisher's health problems; Julia Child's anguished decision to place her husband, Paul, in a nursing home; Waters's romantic entanglements-seem intrusive, given Reardon's prevailing emphasis on the professional lives of these women. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Reardon (Oysters, LJ 10/15/84), whose articles have been published in the Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor, serves up a savory biographical repast about three women who revolutioned the culinary arts in America. Breaking the traditional mold of describing food merely in terms of process and presentation, each brought forth unbridled artistic aspects previously unknown to the culinary scene. The author recounts how M.F.K. Fisher's culinary writings have reminded readers that food is not only a necessity but an art. She reveals how Julia Child, the grande dame of televised cookery, cultivated a renewed interest in French cuisine and gourmet foods for many Americans and how Alice Waters popularized the traditions of California cookery from her Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, with her emphasis on fresh, locally grown, and seasonal ingredients. Reardon discusses mutual friendships and parallels in the lives of these three women. She emphasizes that, with roots in California and strong influences from France, each has instilled a new artistic spirit in American cookery. Recommended for general readers.-Michael A. Lutes, Univ. of Notre Dame Lib., Ind.
Barbara Jacobs
Anyone seriously interested in the rhetoric of food and in the teaching of cooking who hasn't at least a nodding acquaintance with the names Fisher, Child, and Waters should be relegated to KP--for a lifetime. There's no doubt that both Fisher and Child are American gastronomic revolutionaries; the inclusion of Waters, however, is initially questionable. Regardless, the profiles are wonderful. The lives and loves of all three women chefs are clearly presented here, leaving little to the imagination, and their impact is well documented.

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
6.51(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.14(d)

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