The author of M.F.K. Fisher and Me (1991) traces her life from its Brooklyn beginnings, when she couldn't cook and couldn’t care less, to writing for the New York Times food section and rubbing shoulders with culinary heroes Julia Child and Alice Waters.
Ferrary wasn’t always fond of food. Growing up in the 1950s, she watched her mother slave over bland, no-frills Irish meals and, later, Swanson’s frozen TV dinners, fearing that “some day, if I wasn’t careful, I’d have to do the same damn thing.” Her Grandma DeeTee’s cooked calamari frightened her. As a newlywed, she relied on Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook Book for inspiration and, on Thanksgiving, when it came time to roast the turkey and she saw that her oven had only two settings (Broil and Bake), she panicked and phoned Information for advice. (The operator dismissed her as a crank call.) It was only later, when Ferrary went to Guadalajara to study Spanish and was entranced by the fruit, fish, and meat at the local market, that food began to intrigue her. Cooking classes with culinary icon Simone Beck in France led to her first freelance assignment for the San Francisco Examiner’s food pages. After reading Ferrary’s impassioned review of The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, Alice Waters invited her to the landmark Berkeley restaurant and then to a birthday party for longtime New York Times food editor Craig Claiborne, where she found herself hobnobbing in stunned awe with food celebrities like Diana Kennedy, Penelope Casas, and Paul Prudhomme. The author shows great comic timing; her subtle, skillful, yet straightforward prose is funny when you least expect it. Her story about an event with Julia Child—who chastised her for the way she was mincing garlic by intoning, “Jeannette? What are you doing?”—is only one of many hilarious moments.
Inspiring fun for foodies.