How to cook a wolf

by M. F. K. Fisher

Paperback, 1988




San Francisco : North Point Press, 1988.


M.F.K. Fisher's guide to living happily even in trying times, which was first published during the Second World War in the days of ration cards; includes more than seventy recipes based on food staples and features sections such as "How to Keep Alive" and "How to Comfort Sorrow."

User reviews

LibraryThing member laytonwoman3rd
The wolf referred to in the title is "the wolf at the door", and this book is all about how to keep him on the outside of it---how to feed yourself well and pleasingly in hard times. It was written during World War II, and slightly revised 9 years later with bracketed comments about how things had
Show More
changed, or what the author would now do differently. It isn't really a cookbook, although there are lots of recipes in it. It's more a guide to looking at circumstances with an adventurous eye, to avoid a siege mentality. Fisher's writing always pleases me.
Show Less
LibraryThing member subbobmail
M.F.K.. Fisher is worshipped by foodies and prose lovers alike. This book was written in the midst of World War Two and is full of advice (practical and otherwise) on maintaining pleasure in food even in the midst of privation and rationing. To be honest, many of the recipes sound awful -- never
Show More
would I like to replace butter with bacon grease -- and make me grateful for the culinary plenty we all enjoy today. Fisher's tone is that of an approachable literary/culinary aristocrat -- she writes like a Brahmin without pretention. She could have been a 20th century Austen had she tended toward the novel. I wish she had, for I would rather eat food than read about it..
Show Less
LibraryThing member mwittman
For those of us who read cookbooks just for the sake of reading about food - this woman is the ultimate food writer! And none of this talk about counting calories - bring on the butter! Not to mention oysters. Pure decadence. See also "With Bold Knife and Fork" - one of her books I can't seem to
Show More
find here.
Show Less
LibraryThing member laurelbeth
The best book I’ve ever read that makes poverty chic. Also Fisher recommends you save the liquid from canned vegetables to make yr own stock. The potato soup recipe is classic, we made it last week to great results even though I had no idea what "scalded milk" is. The final recipe in the book
Show More
presumes the war will be over eventually, and calls for fruit marinated in liquor, frozen, then splashed with half a bottle of champagne. The allusion to the wolf sniffing at the keyhole is almost terrifying to those of us who are living on limited means. Get back.
Show Less
LibraryThing member SquirrelHead
I was fortunate enough to grow up during peaceful times, at least in my part of the country in the time frame when this book was written. I have never known a life where wartime shortages caused me to think in terms of cutting back and cutting corners due to lean times rather than being just plain
Show More
ol’ broke.

M.F.K. Fisher wrote this brilliant narrative to inspire those daunted by their meager supplies but it’s continued to be a good read in present times. How to Cook a Wolf lets the reader dream and concoct edible meals from limited supplies. Gets creative juices flowing.

Fisher was one of the early writers of books featuring food based stories; this type of writing commands quite a bit of shelf space at our local bookstores these days. Foodie lit. Thank you to Fisher for being ahead of your time in this genre. While some of the recipes are dated the prose is not and grabs your attention straight away.

Perhaps living in France in the 1930s awakened her passion for food as well as slanting her writing in the details of the meals. How could you live in France and not have a culinary inspiration? Food, travel and lovely stories can be counted on in any of Fisher’s books.

Fortunately the economy isn’t so far into the toilet that we need to cook the proverbial wolf at our door……….but I am hanging on to this book anyway. You never know!

Of all the intriguing recipes in her book I will settle on baked apples. Growing up we had several apple trees and my mother, another ingenious cook who made miracles with meager supplies, would use the fruit so many different ways. She made our applesauce, apple tarts, pies, roasted apples with pork and of course….baked apples. My father slathered the baked apples with way too much vanilla ice cream.

Baked apples

Apples…almost any kind, although Delicious are delicious.
Brown sugar (1 TB for each apple)
Cinnamon, nutmeg
Raisins, dates, leftover jam butter

Jam Apple

“Core the apples, and put in a baking dish. Fill each hole with the fruit or jam, and put a dab of butter on top if you want to. Mix the sugar with enough water to fill the baking dish almost to the top, and bake slowly until the apples are tender.”
Show Less
LibraryThing member lycomayflower
First published in the early years of WWII, Fisher's book provides advice about how to eat economically and well during lean times. More than a cookbook but not quite a collection of essays, How to Cook a Wolf incorporates the best elements of both. While I didn't enjoy this one as much as Consider
Show More
the Oyster, it still beautifully evoked a time period and made me wish I was of a temperament and inclination to cook all our meals from scratch. Some wonderful-sounding recipes, too.
Show Less
LibraryThing member MrsLee
This was written in 1942, to help people cope with the shortages during the war. It also has some notes inserted by the author ten years later as a retrospect, which can be amusing.

I wasn't blown away, but it is a product of its time. She seems to think she is speaking to and for every homemaker,
Show More
but I don't think she has a lot to say to the farmer's wives or lower middle class women. She rather assumes that everyone has a fond memory of living or traveling abroad before the war, or of flitting to cocktail parties, etc. Also, I did not find most of the recipes appealing. However, her philosophy on food, our enjoyment of it and our treatment of it is very modern, interesting and instructive. It was also interesting to read about some of the food shortage issues which I hadn't known about for WWII. For instance, she mentioned fish, because so many of the fishing waters had been mined, the Italian fishing fleet out of San Francisco had been stopped, and the Japanese workers in the canneries had been placed in custody.

By the end of the book, I was tired of it. Tired of her "wit" of her assumptions and her tone. Still, I will read more of her writing to see where it leads me.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ladycato
Fisher's classic nonfiction work was published during World War II, for the purpose of providing cooking and household advice for people newly dealing with rations and restraint, and was was revised with parenthetical notes in the 1950s. This is, in part, a cookbook, as there are some recipes
Show More
throughout, but it's also conversational and rambling in tone, Fisher's wryness shining through. She provides advice on preparing soups, using eggs, buying alcohol on the cheap (in bulk), and general advice on being economical.

I found the book to be interesting, but I'd had hopes that some of the recipes would interest me to try (none did) or that the content would seem innovational (it didn't). I was surprised at how many recipes included pimientos.
Show Less




Other editions

Page: 0.82 seconds