how to cook a wolf

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.


About asiajane

librarian, mama, bibliophile, foodie, pop-culture enthusiast, and design junkie
This entry was posted in books, cooking, reading and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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