Marion Cunningham, the latter-day Fanny Farmer, has left the kitchen.
In an early post, I compared Joy to many other tomes of American culinary tradition, and may have found the Fanny Farmer (nèe The Boston Cooking School Cookbook) a bit less awesome in the deal. And yet, it is a fantastic book, full of rock-solid basics and a good format. So easy and comforting for a new cook, and a time-tested bible for veterans.
Just in time for Tomato Season, Plus Something Good for Olympic Viewing!
Marion met culinary legend James Beard in the 70's and eventually stepped in to freshen up the Fanny Farmer's stodgy, aspic-y personality, to bring home cooking into relevance for a new generation of working women and an increasingly no-longer "traditional" family life. Yet she felt her mission was to somehow lure us back to the family table, for just a moment, every day, to share life together. Every interview with her fairly vibrated with passion and dedication to this goal.
I meet people all the time for whom (like me) this was their first cookbook, often a wedding gift from mom or grandma. Some lucky ducks (with peanut stuffing, pg 262, Twelfth Edition, 1979) inherited the family's edition replete with generations of notes, additions and alterations. Here are my books:
Neither of my grandmothers left notes??? How am I sposed to know ANYTHING???
You may read one of the better memorials written here in the New York Times . All I can manage is to hope that, with our books propped open against the slow cooker and held open with the fruit bowl, we continue her mission to pause every day to show love and value and kindness in the feeding of friends and family. And maybe, if we're very lucky, to share this with one small percentage of the lives Marion Cunningham touched.
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