i’m continually amazed at the way people respond to food - i don’t like this or that, did you know yak…yak…yak. just shut up and eat already. M.F.K. Fisher was certainly my kind of girl - greatness of insight and an ability to be concise and crystal clear in her expression of like and dislike. her countless writings in which food is the main character has amused and informed me a thousand times over. i often play a little dining game and imagine my favorite guests for dinner - both dead or alive; she always makes the list, even if oscar wilde doesn’t. her succinct prose of life and food is immortalized in books such as ‘how to cook a wolf’, ‘with bold knife and fork’, consider the oyster’ and such.
“Dining partners, regardless of gender, social standing, or the years they’ve lived, should be chosen for their ability to eat - and drink! - with the right mixture of abandon and restraint. They should enjoy food, and look upon its preparation and its degustation as one of the human arts.”
she has ‘served it forth’ with her avant culinary sensibilities born from post war depravity and clever resourcefulness; some oft ignored recipes spring to mind - one of my most vivid successes has been her christmas celery, it has surprised many guests who have a distaste in the peculiar vegetable, to my ever more discerning children i just say ‘eat the chicken and leave the rest’, there’s of course never any left…
1 quart 1cm sliced of celery
2 cups bechamel sauce
1 cup grated gruyère
parboil the celery in good stock, drain and mix with half of the sauce, pour into a generously buttered baking dish. sprinkle with half the cheese. spread the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the last of the cheese and crumbs. bake till bubbly and golden at about 200 celsius. sometimes i add some sauteed onions but always add good company and good bread. serve with copious amounts of dry white wine.