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M. F. K. Fisher, whom John Updike has called our “poet of the appetites,” here pays tribute to that most enigmatic of ocean creatures, the oyster. As she tells of oysters found in stews, in soups, roasted, baked, fried, prepared à la Rockefeller or au naturel—and of the pearls sometimes found therein—Fisher describes her mother’s joy at encountering oyster loaf in a girls’ dorm in the 1890s, recalls her own initiation into the “strange cold succulence” of raw oysters as a young woman in Marseille and Dijon, and explores both the bivalve’s famed aphrodisiac properties and its equally notorious gut-wrenching powers. Plumbing the “dreadful but exciting” life of the oyster, Fisher invites readers to share in the comforts and delights that this delicate edible evokes, and enchants us along the way with her characteristically wise and witty prose.
“Consider the Oyster marks M. F. K. Fisher’s emergence as a storyteller so confident that she can maneuver a reader through a narrative in which recipes enhance instead of interrupt the reader’s attention to the tales. She approaches a recipe as a published dream or wish, and the stories she tells here...are also stories of the pleasures and disillusionments of dreams fulfilled.”—PATRICIA STORACE, The New York Review of Books
“Since Lewis Carroll no one had written charmingly about that indecisively sexed bivalve until Mrs. Fisher came along with her Consider the Oyster. Surely this will stand for some time as the most judicious treatment in English.”—CLIFFTON FADIMAN