I wrote a piece about two of my favourite writers, Patience Gray and MFK Fisher, for The Times Literary Supplement. Below is the opening paragraph.
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REBECCA MAY JOHNSON
M . F. K. Fisher’s memoir The Gastronomical Me, finally published in Britain seventy-four years after its US debut, is a good omen for food writing. In the UK, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher may not have the dinner party notoriety of her English counterpart Elizabeth David, but in her native America, her many essays, books and columns are adored for their exquisite turns of phrase, wit and sensuality. W. H. Auden’s view that she was the best prose writer in America and John Updike’s grand epithet “Poet of the Appetites” – also the title of a biography by Joan Reardon – adorn this handsome new paperback edition, along with a hyperbolic flourish from Simon Schama, who declares Fisher “the greatest food writer who has ever lived”. Unintentionally, Schama’s praise seems to hint at a slight unease, among the British at least, around the idea that literary writers might…