Essays By M.F.K. Fisher

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Most people like to talk, once steered onto the right track, about their lifetime favorites in food.

It does not matter if they have only dreamed of them for the past countless decades: favorites remain, and mankind is basically a faithful bunch of fellows.

I cannot remember when I first ate a Macadamia, but I was hooked from that moment. The Prince of Wales was said to have invested in a ranch in Hawaii which raised them in small quantities, so that the name stuck in my mind because and almost embarrassed myself by letting a small moan escape me when she put a bowl of them beside my chair; they were beautiful—so lumpy, Macadamian, salty, golden! I was perhaps twenty-three when I first ate almost enough caviar—not to mention any caviar at all that I can now remember.

It was one of the best, brightest days of my whole life with my parents, and lunching in the quiet back room at the Café de la Paix was only a part of the luminous whole.

My mother ate fresh foie gras, sternly forbidden to her liver, but she loved the cathedral at Strasbourg enough to risk almost any kind of attack, and this truffled slab was so plainly the best of her lifetime that we all agreed it could do her nothing but good, which it did.

My father and I ate caviar, probably Sevruga, with green-black smallish beads and a superb challenge of flavor for the iced grassy vodka we used to cleanse our happy palates.

If you loved Gaby Deslys or Fanny Brice, from no matter how far afar, you still can and do. There is, in this happily insatiable fantasizing, no saturation point, no moment at which the body must cry Of course, the average person has not actually possessed a famous beauty, and it is there that gastronomy serves as a kind of surrogate, to ease our longings.

One does not need to be a king or mogul to indulge most, if not all, of his senses with the heady enjoyment of a dish—speaking in culinary terms, that is.

But I know that for a time longer the acipensers of the Black and Caspian Seas will be able to carry out their fertility rites and that I may even partake again of their delectable fruits.

Meanwhile, stern about potato chips on the one hand and optimistic about Beluga on the other, I can savor with my mind’s palate their strange familiarity.

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