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Friday, July 8, 2011

50 Women Game-Changers in Food - #5 M.F.K. Fisher - Bucket Bread





From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...If her recipes don't inspire you, I suspect her words and command of language will. M. F. K. Fisher was, arguably, the finest food writer of the last century. Strangely enough, she never considered herself to be that. Her keen eye surveyed the human condition and her strong voice used food as a metaphor to describe what she witnessed. She recorded what she saw, and wrote with such authority and compassion that her essays, articles and short stories captivated the audiences who read them. Born to a family of journalists, she understood the power of the written word. Her education and travels exposed her to other cultures and the food that sustained them. She combined her knowledge of food and language and, in doing so, set the standard by which food writers are still judged. She is most deserving of the place she has been given in Gourmet's list of the 50 most important women in food. Her five books on food, now combined and reprinted as a collection, The Art of Eating , reveal her to be a perceptive writer for whom food preparation was just a small part of a much larger story. In her own words: "It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the other . . . There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk." Many consider her to be the inventor of food writing. It's hard to argue with that. I thought you might enjoy hearing a few of her reflections.



When I saw this video, I knew that the recipe I selected to represent her work would have to be one for bread. I went back to one of her earliest books How to Cook a Wolf, which dealt quite humorously with wartime rationing, and found this recipe for Bucket Bread. The bread is good, the book is much, much better. Here's her recipe for Addie's Quick Bucket Bread.

Addie’s Quick Bucket-Bread

Ingredients:
1 cake fresh yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast)
1 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons shortening
1 quart whole rich milk
1-1/2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
10 to 12 cups all-purpose flour
grease, butter

Directions:
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Melt the shortening in the milk, but do not let it boil. Combine the two liquid mixtures in a big bowl. Into another big bowl or kettle sift the blended salt, sugar and flour. Pour the liquid gradually into the flour, mixing well, and when feasible knead until smooth. Put the dough into a heavily greased pan, cover with a clean napkin or towel, and let stand in a warm place until double in size. Knead lightly, and let rise once more (about 3 1/2 hours altogether). Make into loaves (Addie slashes her dough into pieces with a sharp knife and then slaps it into shape as if it were a Bad Boy…but any good recipe gives as logical, if less lusty, a procedure), put into well-greased pans, and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. Brush butter on the tops when once they start to brown, and again when the loaves are removed from their pans.

Additional recipes and tributes to M. F. K. Fisher can be found on these wonderful blogs.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud

Everyone is welcome to participate. If you'd like to join us next Friday when we salute Marcella Hazan let me know via email.

48 comments:

girlichef said...

Great choice, Mary...I toyed w/ making Bucket Bread, as well. Your loaves are just beautiful :)

From the Kitchen said...

I have read many of M.F.K. Fisher's books and enjoyed them very much. I cannot eat a tangerine without thinking of her description of placing one on her outside window ledge in winter in Paris and then eating the almost frozen segments. Her bucket bread could just end up being beaten into submission by me!!

Best,
Bonnie

Alessandra said...

I really need to go through this list because I feel that I don't know hardly any of these women.

The bread looks yummy, although I would make it without shortening (unless is a vegetable one :-)

ciao
Alessandra

Holly said...

Great post Mary. I've never had bucket bread. Im sure its delicious : )

Y said...

i adore her books :) thanks for the blog recommendations too mary!

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I absolutely adored this post. I love M.F.K. Fisher, and miss her and her wonderful writing terribly. Your bread looks delicious. I'm going to give this a try.

laurie said...

wow, thats beautiful bread,,

That Girl said...

I've been meaning to read M.F.K. Fisher for ages. I really need to get around to doing it!

Jeannie said...

These bucket bread of yours look very lovely with the design on the side of the loaves...would love to try this!

tandysinclair.com said...

I am so enjoying learning about chefs I have never heard of - thanks for sharing Mary :)

manu said...

I love the shape of this bread!! Have a nice week end ♥

yummychunklet said...

I've never heard of bucket bread, but yours looks fantastic!

Elin said...

Mary...lovely bucket bread. Have kiv the recipe . I like the idea of using shortening..it makes the bun softer and fluffy :) Thanks for sharing the recipe. You are such a good baker :)

Have a great summer hols,
Elin

The Harried Cook said...

What gorgeous looking bread! I've never heard of bucket bread before, but I love the color of those loaves... They look incredibly good! Thanks for sharing :)

Ruth said...

I'm loving these posts - because, being British, there are lots of women chefs/cooks who are famous in your neck of the woods that I've just never heard of! Thanks for sharing!

Maris(In Good Taste) said...

I love the glimpse into the lives of these incredible women. Your loaves of bread look perfect!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Mary, while the recipe sounds like one we would ALL love at our house, I am most excited to hear of M.F.K. Fisher. I had not heard of her and she is now on my 'bucket list' of authors to read. LOL! She will have a hard time beating your writing IMHO. blessings ~ tanna

Jay said...

this is gorgeous..
Tasty Appetite

StephenC said...

I have read a fair amount by MFK. Very interesting and enjoyable.

bellini said...

To me bread symbolizes the life of her prose and writing. Ms Fisher was the beginning of my love for food long before I knew it.

Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) said...

I love MFK's writing but have a hard time finding her books. Will have to seek some out. Wonderful recipe choice.

Anna said...

Looks divine! I've never made bucket bread before but can't wait to try it :D

Sutapa said...

I am sure your bucket bread is very delicious!!

Kim said...

This bread really looks delicious! Perfect for the week-end!

Katie said...

Mary--What a fun recipe choice! I love how you were able to bake the bread to really maintain the shape of it. The golden brown crust on the bread makes it look so delicious!

Miranda said...

Bucket bread is a great choice. Thank you for the video!

Jenn said...

Oh, that bread looks lovely! I can almost smell it baking :) I read "Consider the Oyster" just about a year ago... Love it! Fisher is a fantastic writer.

Susan........ said...

Great looking bread. I am amazed that one small packet of yeast could make all that dough! I am ashamed to say I am also not that familiar with MFK Fisher, I was never one to buy cookbooks years ago, I always cooked what the women in my family taught me. I think I need to spend a morning at Barnes & Noble.....soon.

I look forward to Friday's, this blog and my morning joe. Hugggs, Mary.

Epicurea said...

what a great idea to use a bread recipe, one of the most basic and primordial forms of nourishments, for this tribute. and wonderful to learn about these inspiring women!

Emily Malloy said...

Oh this looks so amazing!

Emily Malloy said...

Oh this looks so amazing!

meeshiesmom said...

Cannot wait to make this! I've never had bucket bread, or even heard of it. Thanks!
Karen

Lauren Hairston said...

While reading her books, I always think of M.F.K. Fisher as being a rather elegant woman--I'm glad I was right! Maybe if I keep eating well and enjoying my food I'll age as well as she did!

Sue/the view from great island said...

Thank you Mary for introducing me to a new writer. I am so intrigued by her and the book, I'm going to read it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

The Slow Roasted Italian said...

Fantastic writing yourself Mary! Thank you so much for sharing about MFK Fisher.

The bucket bread looks divine. I am really craving bread, so after my birthday I am sure making this!

Joanne said...

I've loved seeing the recipes on all of your blogs today! The bread is beautiful and would make for some delicious PB+J's...or some bread pudding!

Swathi said...

Salute to that great cook. Bucket bread looks delicious.

Food Glorious Food! said...

She is true inspiration... This recipe is definitely a must try :) Have a great weekend!

Adam said...

Bread is something that I keep telling myself I need to make, but haven't really done it yet. I am now fascinated by the idea of making bucket bread. Up until this moment I didn't know what it was. Would you say that this is the best bucket bread recipe you've tried or are they pretty much all the same?

Melynda said...

I will be very interested in going from blog to blog and seeing the MFK Fisher recipes, and reading what each person has to say. She has held more interest for me since learning her daughter is a tenant here, in the building I manage. I had notice the Bucket Bread recipes, and glad you made it. A nice recipe for new bakers.

Country Dreaming said...

There is NOthing better smelling or tasting than fresh bread from the oven. I can smell and taste it now. Ohhhh don't forget the dripping butter. :)

Kathy said...

Your loaves are gorgeous! Never heard of bucket bread but it does look lovely!

Ginny said...

She's a wonderful writer, I have several of her books!

scrambledhenfruit said...

Beautiful loaves! I've not read all of M.F.K. Fisher's work and I'm feeling the need to do that now. Wonderful tribute! :)

Lenia said...

Never heard of her.The bread looks really yummy.Hugs,dear.

elle marie said...

What a fun and interesting read, you know, I've never heard of bucket bread before, and I never read any of "Fisher's" books, in fact, I had to google the author... eek

Lopez Kilpatrick said...

M.K.F. Fisher was the person who, more than any other, opened my eyes to what eating means. I devoured (pun intended) "How to cook a wolf" and the light turned on. She was such an amazing writer.
the bread is a great choice in how to honor her.

Susan Lindquist said...

Forgive me, Mary for being gone from this 'reading session'. I have just returned from a few days 'in the camping world' and see this gorgeous post. The video makes me tearful, as MS Fisher is just so beautifully quoted and the preparation of her beloved soups and breads are such a wonderful part of the video ... hurray for the simplicity of bread!

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