An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher

An Extravagant Hunger The Passionate Years of M F K Fisher In An Extravagant Hunger time slows and is relished and the turning points and casual strolls of M F K Fisher s life are unwrapped and savored From the Berengaria that washed her across the sea to F

  • Title: An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher
  • Author: Anne Zimmerman
  • ISBN: 9781582435466
  • Page: 290
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In An Extravagant Hunger, time slows and is relished, and the turning points and casual strolls of M.F.K Fisher s life are unwrapped and savored From the Berengaria that washed her across the sea to France in 1929, to Le Paquis, the Swiss estate that later provided a backdrop for some of the most idyllic and fleeting moments of her life, the stories of Fisher s love forIn An Extravagant Hunger, time slows and is relished, and the turning points and casual strolls of M.F.K Fisher s life are unwrapped and savored From the Berengaria that washed her across the sea to France in 1929, to Le Paquis, the Swiss estate that later provided a backdrop for some of the most idyllic and fleeting moments of her life, the stories of Fisher s love for food and her love for family and men are meticulously researched and exquisitely captured in this book Exploring Fisher s lonely and formative time in Europe with her first husband her subsequent divorce and re marriage to her creative sparkplug, Dillwyn Parrish, and his tragic suicide and the child she carried from an unnamed father, the story of M.F.K Fisher s life becomes as vibrant and passionate as her prolific words on wine and cuisine.Letters and journal entries piece together a dramatic life, but An Extravagant Hunger steps further, bridging the gaps between personal notes and her public persona, filling in the silences by offering an engaging and unprecedented depth of intuitive commentary With a passion of her own, Anne Zimmerman is the careful witness, lingering beside M.F.K Fisher through her most dramatic and productive years.

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    About “Anne Zimmerman

    • Anne Zimmerman

      Anne Zimmerman holds an MA from San Diego State University, where her thesis was a biographical study of the life of M.F.K Fisher She has spent exhaustive time researching Fisher at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College and is a food enthusiast and contributor to Culinate She lives in San Francisco.



    373 thoughts on “An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher

    • An interesting book about an interesting writer. Recommended if you're a fan of her work. And really, who isn't?


    • This book was intriguing for me because, well, obviously I knew nothing about the REAL M.F.K. Fisher. As a food writer she is highly esteemed and all of her books laud her in the most glowing light.I picked up this book thinking I would be treated to another story similar to Julia Child's. I was wrong. First off, M.F.K. wasn't interested in cooking and recipes the way Julia was. She used food more as a touchstone for her own personal growth. Beginning this book I was confused because it did not [...]


    • I like Fisher's writing, but only knew her through that. This book is frustrating as hell, because Zimmerman never seems to come to grips with her subject (in fact, Zimmerman rarely seems to like her subject; the "passionate years" of the title end for the author in 1941 with the death of Fisher's second husband, so it was a little startling to realize that Fisher lived on until 1992, had another marriage and numerous affairs, two children --- I mean, that's a lot for years devoid of passion). F [...]


    • Once I managed to separate the fact that MFK Fisher is quite a drama queen and spoiled spoiled young woman from the writing, I moved along quite well. And, in fact, MF DID 'grow up'. Really, HER writing is exceptional and yes, quite extravagant, but then that was the point and the success to help us ALL see/smell/feel what she did.I read this because I'd picked up MF's 'Among Friends' and was put to sleep almost every time I picked up the book. I thought THAT cannot be right was attracted by the [...]


    • This biography of M.F.K. Fisher is based on access to personal letters and journals of the writer and her relatives. It chronicles her first two relationships and her growth as a writer but oddly, stops at about 1950, even though the author lived for another 40+ years. While the point of the work is to examine her relationship with Al Fisher and her affair/marriage with Dillwyn Parrish, there is a great deal of discussion about Mary's unhappiness, to the point that it almost becomes redundant. I [...]


    • Over the years, I have devoured many of M.F. K. Fisher’s sensual books on food and loved them as they are truly worth savoring and almost mouth watering good. This biography describes her early years and covers her first and second marriages in great detail, but then glides by her later years and leaves me wanting more information on M.F.K. Having read much written by Fisher, I had some knowledge of the arc of her life, her professional writing career and her family background and personal lif [...]


    • This biography had the distinction of being badly written AND casting its subject in a negative light. Not that I have ever been a huge fan of M.F.K Fisher -- I find her writing veiled and somewhat fragmentary -- but in this book, she's a positive brat.Like Julia Child, she was born in a comfortable household in Southern California. M.F.K. ('Mary Frances' in this book) is too shallow, as a young woman, to get a solid education. She marries for the hell of it at 20 and moves with her grad student [...]


    • I hadn't read a lot of MFK Fisher's works, but was intrigued by this book from a recommendation from one of my favourite food blogs.I enjoyed this book - the author's style was clear and simple. It was a pleasant way to spend a quite night at home. The book focuses on Fisher's relationships with her first two husbands and how these relationships helped shape her writing. It details Fisher's search for a creative outlet and the need to fulfill her "extravagant hunger" for something more. As the b [...]


    • 2011 Book 91/100I love MFK Fisher and her foodie writing, but this book left me cold. It was dry as dust, badly written, and boring through the first third. Only when Mary Frances left her husband Al Fisher for her lover while living with him in Switzerland did things pick up -- and even that is not saying much. The author continually alluded to passion, but there was little telegraphed in her work - an omission of the author for sure, as I know that MFKF herself had passion aplenty. The book on [...]


    • I haven't actually read any of M.F.K. Fisher's work, so I feel like I'm working at this backwards. This book was interesting and well-written, but not exactly fun to read. M.F.K. Fisher's life was not the happy existence of Julia Child. She struggled for the approval of her family, for the support of her husband, for self-confidence. She came from a family with a strong matriarch in her grandmother who disapproved of enjoying food, although her parents, when not under that influence, reveled in [...]


    • Not really sure I can review this objectively. I have sort of a hero-worship thing going on for M. F. K. Fisher, so it was fascinating for me to read about her (early to middle) life in a more chronological, comprehensive format than her personal essays (which, while always thoughtful and witty and written with precise, seductive prose, are just snapshots). I sympathized with her adolescent fits of indolence and self-doubt. I rejoiced at her literary successes. I grieved at the horrifying illnes [...]


    • Very disappointing. Not only reads like an undergraduate term paper, this bio skims through material any reader could discover from already published works. Go to MFKF's journal; to her own writings; and to her bio by Joan Reardon ("Poet of the Appetites'). Zimmerman fails to provide us with any new or worthwhile insights into this complex pioneer, one of America's first "foodies" who was no sort of true culinary artist; a woman of apparently limitless narcissism and almost laughable snobbery wh [...]


    • This is a somewhat slight book written by Anne Zimmerman, who went back and read as many letters as she could find in libraries by the people involved in MFK Fisher's younger life. While I didn't think it told me much beyond what I already knew, it is a good reminder of the background to "The Gastronomical Me." Quite a harrowing life, in some ways, but Fisher took what she was given and made something unique out of it. She probably still seems scandalous to some in her indulgent concepts of the [...]


    • Just finished reading Anne Zimmerman's An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2011). Fisher was one of the first Americans to write articles and books about food that inspired the culture of food we know today. She created the idea of the food writer and Zimmerman tries to trace her life using her writing and archival details discovered among letters between Fisher, her family and friends. Sadly, Fisher the subject is more interesting than Zimmerman [...]


    • My Life in France this is not. It is however, an interesting, superficial biography of how MFK Fisher came to write about food. I've been mulling over why I so apathetic to this book. Perhaps it was because Fisher was a "food writer" rather than a cook. Perhaps it was because as a person she's prickly and dramatic, with a penchant for playing the victim. Perhaps it was the lack of narrative. There's a whole lot of "must haves" and "supposes" in this book, which detracted from the authority of th [...]


    • This book ended and I found myself wanting more of an explanation. While this is my first bio on MFK Fisher, I've read almost all her books. I guess I was searching for answers about what really happened throughout her life, what fueled her gastronomical voyage - and this book alludes to the fact that she just sort of fell into it. I really wanted to know more about the affairs after Tim, the women (!!! come ON, that is biographical GOLD!) and the men, her daughters, what happened AFTER 1945? Th [...]


    • M.F.K. Fisher was the first major "foodie" writer of the 20th century. In many respects, she created the genre. The story of how she evolved into this role is interesting and reveals many quirky aspects of Fisher's character. Growing up in the early decades of the 20th century, she came of age in a time when women's roles were restricted and sharply defined. By marrying an intellectual and spending a significant amount of time in Europe in the 1930's, Fisher is able to gradually forge a path for [...]


    • I always wanted to know a little bit more about MFK Fisher's life - the snippets of autobiographical information she gives us in her writings are tantalizing. So I was happy to find this book, which does indeed answer a lot of the questions I had.But it turns out MFK knew best: her life was difficult, often tragic, and I do not feel better knowing more - what she told us was just enough.Which isn't fair to this book or author! Zimmerman has done a LOT of research, and it is a good book.


    • A little amateurish (she mentions at the end that her father helped with some findings), but worth checking out if you're a fan of Fischer. She had cooperation from Fischer's daughter, so some of the sources here are unique. While I really enjoyed learning about MFK's first two loves, I thought the relationship with her third husband was downplayed too much. This book made me hunger for a more thorough biography.


    • Absolutely delicious. Maybe this book just hit me at the right time, but never has MFK Fisher's writing and life seemed more poignant to me than after reading this book. Like the author, I too always sensed a hint of sadness in her writing, but this book, although it does paint a more clear picture of the times she did struggle, left me with a really satisfying picture of how she lived her life.


    • How to Cook a Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher settled the distinction between herself and the women who guided ladies in magazines, cookbooks, and entertainment guides. She differed from Julia Child and James Beard who taught people how to cook. M.F.K. Fisher believed that good food was a way to abundantly enjoy life.


    • Ugh--really? These were the passionate years? because the writing is dry as dust--I really wanted to know more about her relationship with food, of which there is very little here, and i was not impressed with her realtionship with menor women (which we find outalmost nothing and maybe that is where there was some apssion) Not recommended.


    • If you're a foodie, the four stars will hold. I am a sucker for books about food and food writers. She is particularly fascinating, but most unconventional. This biography puts her other work in context. Savored every page.


    • This was really interesting Sometimes I felt like the author might have been trying a little too hard to impute motives, but on the whole it was a really fascinating look into the life of one of my favorite food writers.


    • A sweeping biography of M.F.K. Fisher, the prolific American food writer. I was unfamiliar with Fisher, but was intrigued with Fisher's personal life (her first marriage, especially) and her confrontation of the role of women in her lifetime.


    • Overall, I found the extremely term-paper adherence to quotes irritating, and I felt the entire story of MFK focussed too heavily on the early years. Though I love her writing (particularly 'A Cordiall-Water') I had a hard time getting involved with this MFK.





    • Very good. Reminded me of "The Paris Wife." Well written.d on the author's research for her Master's Thesis on M.F.K. Fisher.


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