One Recipe for the New Year

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Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Yes, it’s all in how you make it.

In 1942, as the reality of food rationing sank in among American cooks, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, better known as M.F.K. Fisher, published a cookbook that she titled How To Cook a Wolf.

The title derives from the old saying for barely maintaining: “keeping the wolf from the door.” Fisher proposes one way to keep the wolf away is to cook it up for supper.

Here’s a quote that well summarizes Fisher’s theme and life stance:

And with our gastronomical growth will come, inevitably, knowledge and perception of a hundred other things, but mainly of ourselves. Then Fate, even tangled as it is with cold wars as well as hot, cannot harm us.

Fisher contends that, by starting with simple sustenance and working to hone one’s cooking skills as well as one’s tastes, we may thereby affect our “knowledge and perception of a hundred other things.” Each of us can ultimately gain knowledge and perception “mainly of ourselves.”

That’s not a bad idea. And not a shabby recipe.

Fisher did not consider culinary complexity a virtue. One of her chapter titles is “How To Boil Water.” Another chapter is titled “How to Distribute Your Virtue.’’ And another, ’’How to Be Cheerful Through Starving’.’

As we slide toward that time when many of us make resolutions for the new year, Fisher’s advice just may be of help. Start simple. Boil some water. Throw in that wolf that’s been circling around.

Written by

Poet, Senior Minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, a Humanist congregation. Amazon author's page

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