When asked why she wrote about food, she replied:
The easiest answer is to say that… I am hungry. But there is more than that. 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 others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and the love of it and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.
There is food in the bowl and more often than not, because of what honesty I have, there is nourishment in the heart, to feed wilder and more insistent hungers.
The New York Times review of her first book states, “It is erudite and witty and experienced and young. The truth is that it is stamped on every page with a highly individualized personality. Sophisticated but not standardized, brilliant but never 'swift-moving' or 'streamlined,' perfumed and a little mocking, direct and yet almost précieuse…”
I have read pretty much everything she wrote and each book left me richer. It is no wonder that everyone in the food world from Beard to Reichl did some small amount of genuflecting at her table while visiting her at “Last House” in California. Many culinary pilgrimages were made to see her there.
I include a list of some of her best so that you too may read and be nourished:
Serve It Forth (1937)
Consider the Oyster (1941)
How to Cook a Wolf (1942)
The Gastronomical Me (1943)
Here Let Us Feast, A Book of Banquets (1946)
An Alphabet for Gourmets (1949)
The Physiology of Taste [translator] (1949)
The Art of Eating (1954) [combines five of her books]
A Cordial Water: A Garland of Odd & Old Receipts to Assuage the Ills of Man or Beast (1961)
Map of Another Town: A Memoir of Provence (1964)
Recipes: The Cooking of Provincial France (1968) [reprinted in 1969 as The Cooking of Provincial France]
With Bold Knife and Fork (1969)