The quote from Anais Nin that opens Anne Zimmerman's wonderful new book "An Extravagant Hunger, The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher" got me thinking about what writers are really doing when they write,
"We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospect." -- Anais Nin
It's a quote that I find so true about writers, especially writers of memoirs, diaries, biographies, essays, novels, poetry, and yes, blogs. This is why we write. And this is the essence of Anne's new book about M.F.K. Fisher. She was a woman who loved life and wanted to savor it and did so by writing about it, focusing on her passion for food. She tasted life twice. She did so in a beautiful and evocative way, unlike anything that had come before. As Gourmet magazine put it, "Fisher's sensuous, evocative prose redefined food writing." She is the woman who started the modern style of food writing. Before she began this new genre, it simply didn't exist.
Last night I found myself at another "Eating Our Words" event at Taylor de Cordoba Gallery in Culver City. These events are an exciting combination of literature and food, bringing together celebrated writers and culinary artists in one nourishing event, for both mind and body. In addition to hearing Anne Zimmerman talk about her book, we got to sample the culinary treats of Rene Klaassen and Gourmets on Wheels, a roving cornucopia of the world's finest artisanal meat and cheese products.
Co-founders of "Eating Our Words," poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi and gallery owner Heather Taylor
As I listened to Anne talk about M.F.K. Fisher and her lust for life, I began to realize that Anne shares Fisher's passion for taking care of one's self through cooking and baking. She talked about how Fisher had inspired her to really care about the food that she cooks and eats and to make each meal a celebration of the senses. When we take care of ourselves we are celebrating life. This zest for life was communicated last night and I left the event inspired to cook for my family and friends and, more importantly, to bring together the people that make my world so special. What better way to do it than over good food and wine.
When asked why she chose to write about food and hunger, Fisher replied,
"When I write about hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth, and the love of it...and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied."
There are many wonderful food blogs that I read on a regular basis. My three favorites are "Poetic Appetite" (Anne Zimmerman's blog), "Snippets of Thyme," and "Bon Appetempt." These talented women who blog about their passion for food and life, are really following in the footsteps of M.F.K. Fisher. As the French writer Colette wrote,
"Be happy. It is one way of being wise."
I like to think we are doing what we love (twice) when we write about our passions and the things in life that feed our souls.