Last February I read a post by Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini about the writer Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher. At the time I thought, "Hm, name sounds familiar, must check that out some day..." and promptly forgot all about it.
Just over a week ago, my good friend Alisa called me on her way to French class, the sound of busses and traffic in the background. "Just a quick question: which MFK Fisher books have you read?" Um, none. "Okay, FORGET I ASKED THAT." Click.
I tried to forget but when my birthday came around a few days later I have to say I wasn't entirely surprised to be handed a book-shaped package by Alisa.
I've just gone back and read the comments from Clotilde's post and realized that thanks to Alisa I've stumbled into a genuinely obsessive Fan Club. Having finished "Consider the Oyster" I feel I have started paying my dues to the club and am looking forward to a continuing relationship. Her writing has the clarity of Hemingway, with a little poetry, a little candid humour...and it's all about my favourite subject: food. How could I not love her?
Let us consider the oyster. Mary Frances takes us through its many manifestations, raw, cooked, in a soup which sounds like a stew and a stew which looks like a soup. She tells us about its fascinating bisexual love life. She does it all so lovingly and so enthusiastically that it made me sad to think that it's the middle of the spawning season and not a kind time to eat oysters. It was such a good book that it prompted me to pick all my American cookbooks off the shelf and look for more recipes.
Living here in France, where there are only two recipes for oysters (a: open oyster with a sharp knife and serve with lemon, butter and bread or b: have fishmonger/restaurant open oyster with sharp knife and eat with lemon, butter and bread) it's easy to forget there are other things to be done with these delectable babies. It's a kind of an American idea to cook the oyster (or smoke it - you should see the faces of my French friends when I tell them about that idea). So I'm going to have to try some of these dishes come September. It's part of my American heritage and I ought to pay tribute to it, n'est-ce pas?
This post was brought to you through the kindness of my friend Alisa, who introduced me to a new and lovely lady. Thank you, Alisa!
Now I'm just off to update my Amazon Wishlist...