Not long ago, I read MFK Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf. It’s a provocative book: at turns philosophical and literary, always practical, and very modern. First published in 1942 as Fisher’s answer to dreary wartime scrimping, it was reissued in 1951 with the addition of her notes in brackets (many of them hilariously self-deprecating).
Her message was simple: food is nourishment, but it is also much more. Buy organic if you can, avoid processed foods.
There are copious recipes, among them: Eggs in Hell, War Cake, A Vodka, and Mock Duck. There are instructions for making mouthwash and stuffing pincushions with dried coffee grounds. The chapter titles read like lines from poems:
How to Be Sage Without Hemlock
How to Rise Up Like New Bread
How to Be Cheerful Through Starving
How to Make a Pigeon Cry
How to Pray for Peace
An illuminating book, even now, almost seven decades after its original publication. I’m glad I actually own a copy, as it’s one I will return to again and again.