Cover image for Long ago in France : the years in Dijon
Long ago in France : the years in Dijon
Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Prentice Hall Press, [1991]

Physical Description:
xvi, 159 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Destinations book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX649.F5 A3 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From one of the most gifted writers of our time, a nostalgic account of France, replete with fascinating characters and memorable meals. In this very personal reminiscence, readers glimpse beautiful Dijon against the backdrop of between-the-wars Europe through the eyes, heart and stomach of a most wise and articulate woman.

Author Notes

Born July 3, 1908, in Albion, Michigan, M.F.K Fisher was raised primarily in Whittier, California, where she enjoyed cooking meals for her family. Encouraged in literary pursuits by her parents, she combined her favorite pastimes-cooking and writing-and began writing about cooking as early as 1929 when she moved to Dijon, France, with her first husband, Alfred Fisher.

Fisher was educated at Illinois College, Occidental College, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Dijon. She has written under the names Mary Frances Parrish, Victoria Bern, and Victoria Berne. A prolific author, her work is primarily autobiography and memoir. Her long list of publications includes Dubious Honors (1988) and Stay Me, Oh Comfort Me: Journals and Stories, 1933-1945, (1993). She also contributed articles to widely known magazines, including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Gourmet.

Fisher died of Parkinson's disease on June 22, 1992, in Glen Ellen, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The first three titles of the new Destination series, a collection of books about place by distinguished writers. Each, introduced gracefully by editor Jan Morris, tells tales of discovery, peculiarities of culture, change, and, most of all, people. Bordewich, a journalist, worked as an adviser to a news agency in China in the early 1980s. Curiosity about China's past brought him back to search for traces of Cathay, "the land of Confucius and Lao Tze . . . mandarins and scholar-poets and geomancers." Entering China on the ancient Silk Road, he visits with an 118-year-old man and sees the Thousand Buddha Caves and the few Tibetan monasteries saved for tourists before journeying to the populous East. As he covers the rough, old ground via jeep, train, and bicycle, he tries to find vestiges of the idiosyncratic past behind the monotonous Maoist present. He talks with teachers, secret art lovers, former Red Guards, young poets, and smugglers, all still nursing wounds from the Cultural Revolution. Bordewich's assured prose, seemingly effortless recollections of history and poetry, and keen feeling for both the brutality and the beauty of the old culture transport the reader simultaneously to the past and present. An enveloping and revealing narrative. To read M. F. K. Fisher is to enter a realm of naturally elegant and confidently sensual thought and language. Claiming (and we don't doubt her for a moment) "to remember everything in my life with equal clarity," Fisher has chosen to write about her first stay in Dijon, France, from 1929 to 1931. Just married, young, and shy, she took to life in the old city of culinary wonders with eager interest and delight. Sights, sounds, tastes, and smells are conveyed with compelling immediacy, while her portraits of people crackle with marvelously observed quirks of personality and glow with kind humor. Fisher tells tales of feasting and coping with the strange and volatile households in which they boarded. She was gastronomically adventurous, up to the challenges of life without plumbing, and enamored of simplicity and freshness. Fisher learns from everything and teaches us with each perfect sentence. Gold, author of numerous stories, essays, and novels (most recently Dreaming [BKL Mr 1 88]), has been a "Haiti addict" since his first visit on a Fulbright in 1953. His vivid memoir shares his experiences over the years in this mysterious, chaotic, exotic, and long-suffering country. He tests definitions of life in Haiti like trying on shoes or tasting wine--"incomprehensible parody," "brutal frivolity," "eccentric paradise," or "perverse durability"--and they all fit and leave an aftertaste of dismayed wonder. Gold describes Haiti's peculiar legacy of slavery and revolt, racism and suspicion: the curious blend of African and French cultures, the power of voodoo, the capriciousness of violence, and the resignation of despair. A penetrating and bittersweet account of a plagued yet implacable place. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.