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Long Ago in France


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When Fisher ( The Art of Eating ) arrived in Dijon, the ancient capital of Burgundy, in 1929, she and her new husband were both American postgraduate students, in love with each other, with France and with the people among whom the couple lived. During the Fishers' three-year stay in Dijon, the author absorbed the essence of the French character and the joys of Dijonnais cookery; her exquisite perceptions and eloquent evocations of those years appeal with more than nostalgia. Fisher's memories arouse envy of the wonderful feasts that even the poor students could afford, appreciation for her tough-tender Burgundian neighbors and aching empathy with the innocent young lovers. (Feb.)

Fisher spent three years in Dijon in the halcyon days between the wars. This is a brief and wholly delightful memoir of that time, an account rich with wines, meals, and crisply etched portraits. Fisher has often been categorized as a food writer--as if cooking and eating were activities somehow apart from life. Here she writes just as exuberantly of her monstrously vital landlady as she does of disintegrating snipe roasted on ``toast softened with the paste of their rotted innards.'' Jan Morris reminds us in her introduction that W.H. Auden called Fisher's prose the best in America, a verdict this volume comes close to confirming. Highly recommended.-- Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id.

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