Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher
Les Dames d'Escoffier International is proud
to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Mary Frances
Kennedy Fisher. Considered one of America's greatest writers,
her writings revere the art of eating simply but well, of
taking pleasure where it is found and of loving life with
all of its challenges.
Happy Birthday Mary Frances!
Thursday, July 3, 2008, was the 100th Birthday
of M.F.K. Fisher, and we raised a glass of a favorite libation
in her honor. Caviar and a potato chip and a few macadamia
nuts - three of her favorite nibbles - would also be fitting
Fisher, Mary Frances to all who knew her, received the Grande
Dame Award in 1978, thirty years ago, and here is her account
of the event:
"Mary Frances's influence continued to be felt in the
expanding culinary community, and Carol Brock, founder and
president of the New York chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier
wrote to Mary Frances about their wish to confer the title
of Grande Dame on her, as they had previously bestowed it
on Julia Child and Ella Brennan. "At first," Mary
Frances told Eleanor, "I was rather sniffy about them
. . . a bunch of food PR people, I thought. But now I know
more about the group, and approve its aims to make qualified
females welcome in large fine kitchens. So I agreed to be
there . . . I've made it clear that I don't want my `appearance'
tied in at all with the publication of the Marseille book
[A Considerable Town]. I'm hoping Norah will feel like coming
along . . . I'm really quite at a loss on planes and getting
into taxis and so on. But I don't want her to feel like a
Guide Dog." Between the invitation and the actual event
on April 29, 1978, plans changed from a "noon-thing on
a cruising yacht" around Manhattan to a gala dinner at
the New York Public Library. As requested, Mary Frances sent
a suggested guest list that included Julia and Paul Child,
Judith and Evan Jones, William Maxwell and Edith Oliver from
The New Yorker, Robert and Susan Lescher, Eleanor Friede,
and Bert Greene, who had also been involved in planning the
event, which was headlined "An Evening in Honor of M.F.K.
Fisher." Mary Frances told Julia, "I've got a new
`outfit' (About time!), all of which will stay invisible behind
the dinner table. But I'll feel fine, inside. On to Marseille!
Or Aix! Or or or . . ."
Having decided to use the trip to New York City as a prelude
to another visit to Provence, Mary Frances and Norah flew
to Marseille on April 30th and then on to Aix and Le Tholonet."
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of MFK Fisher
It was Fisher's last trip to France, and it is lovely to think
that the Grande Dame Award made it possible.
Submitted by Joan Reardon