Gastronomical Me, MFK Fisher

21 10 2008

When you describe the first thing you remember tasting, a grayish pink fuzz may not seem as appealing as it did when reading the words of MFK Fisher. She was only four years old, and I was immediately was drawn into Gastronomical Me and the memory of strawberry jam-only-sandwiches for the duration of elementary school. My mother had packed for jam-only because I despised peanut butter at age five. Everyone else ate peanut butter. As Fisher describes childhood palates, I realize there may have been more to this hate for peanut butter, children best stand sweetness.  A jam sandwich was sweet, not creamy or salty when it occurs with peanut butter. My mother had made it, packed it with the perfect accompaniments and it was a memory of her during daily lunchtime without her.

I continued on with MFK Fisher as she ate with her father that night as she found out that food was something to be shared with people, something beautiful that should not be thought of only as a daily necessity. Suddenly aware of how often I eat only for the purpose of fuel, I set my copy of Gastronomical Me on the countertop. I always look at food as fuel, something delicious, but fuel nonetheless. There are overwhelming associations that I often ignore the meanings, smells, and memories accompany food.

I allow myself now to reminisce and my memory is flooded by the smell of doughnuts in the car on the way to my grandfather’s boat house. When we arrived to the boat after what seemed to be a century, the excitement of finally getting to eat my pink frosted piece of heaven was so overpowering that I stood on my grandfather’s boat holding it up in the air as if it was something to be praised by God. Fortunately, I have the photograph to prove this and more importantly to remind me of how important food is to not only nourish our bodies but to nourish our souls. It should fill our heart’s palates not just our mouths’, as Fisher eloquently writes.

After tasting the hot chocolate and croissants of Paris, Fisher describes the first true meal with her first husband. The newlyweds had been staying at the best place in town, knowing too little to appreciate the famous chefs or wine cellars, and surviving because of their youth.  I recall my birthday dinner at Ruth’s Chris, enjoying free tastes of $500 cabernet.  The company I had for the meal and for the drinking was the most important asset to enjoying that night of bliss, rather than the price tag or fancy attire. Alone at a two-top in a crowded room with our goblets and wine-stained lips, we were happy in our very own charmed gastronomical circle.

The ten course meal Monseiur Paul prepares for MFK Fisher in another incredible section of Gastronomical Me describes an experience beyond any Thanksgiving dinner. You may often realize you should not be as hungry as you are, or have never tasted such wonderful food, but Fisher actually prayed for ten normal appetites in order to continue her meal! Having never experienced Truite-Bleu finished off with an astounding apple tart, I can only understand the extended belly filled with the tastiest food, a glass filled with rich berry and oak aromas, and a soul filled with contentment. Waiters and waitresses truly are nicer than “people”, as they provide someone with a beautiful arrangement of foods, one after another, taking pleasure in their enjoyment as Fisher writes.  If only we could all take that much passion, pleasure and perfection in what we give and consume.

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15 03 2009
Rain rain go away… « Body Mind Soul

[…] crew came to Slow Food Nation  ( Check out My posts regarding my thoughts on Slow Food Nation Here and my paper on the book Slow Food Nation: Here)  and to talk to Alice about her long history […]

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