To Begin Again: Stories and Memoirs

M. F. K. Fisher, Author Pantheon Books $21 (179p) ISBN 978-0-679-41576-3
With seemingly photographic memory Fisher (1908-1992), the famous culinary writer recalls growing up in Southern California where her journalist father and snobbish, asocial mother moved in 1910, two years after her birth in Michigan. Rebelling against a stern grandmother who prohibited the use of spices, fats, alcohol and ``the five senses'' in the household, Fisher began ``learning to live well gastronomically'' around age six. She writes of spankings by her father, who had himself been physically abused as a child, and she divulges that for 25 years she imagined that a guardian spirit--a tiny ancient man--kept vigil under her bed while she slept. She rues her standoffish treatment of a Mexican classmate, revels in the ``escape hatch'' called San Francisco and describes a ring of girls who secretly disseminated sex information in boarding school. These warm reminiscences close as Fisher, a ``lazy bum'' in college, acts out a Scott-and-Zelda madcap fantasy with her husband, an English instructor. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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