ANNE ZIMMERMAN / An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 7:30pm

“Although many people write about food and hunger, there are few who write about it well. Rarer still is a writer who composes prose with the precision and grace of M.F.K. Fisher.  Her lines are imbued with poetry and philosophy that could make the greatest of writers weep.”


In this stunning portrait of M.F.K. Fisher and the heartbreak and happiness that catapulted her to creative success, Anne Zimmerman is the careful witness, lingering beside Fisher through her most dramatic and productive years.


In An Extravagant Hunger, time slows and is relished, as the turning points and casual strolls of M.F.K. Fisher’s life are unwrapped and savored. From the Berengaria that washed her across the sea to France in 1929, to Le Paquis, the Swiss estate that later provided a backdrop for some of the most idyllic and fleeting moments of her life, the stories of Fisher’s love for food and her love for family and men are meticulously researched and exquisitely captured in this book.


Exploring Fisher’s lonely and formative time in Europe with her first husband; her subsequent divorce and re-marriage to her creative sparkplug, Dillwyn Parrish, and his tragic suicide; and the child she carried from an unnamed father, the story of M.F.K. Fisher’s life becomes as vibrant and passionate as her prolific words on wine and cuisine.


Letters and journal entries piece together a dramatic life, but An Extravagant Hunger steps further, bridging the gaps between personal notes and her public persona, filling in the silences by offering an engaging and unprecedented depth of intuitive commentary.


“With lucid sympathy [Zimmerman] paints Fisher’s accomplishments as that much more remarkable for having been born of so much pain” -- San Francisco Magazine


“Zimmerman, a contributor to, explores the privileged yet emotionally turbulent world of the pioneering American food writer Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher. In her sympathetic yet critical biography of the life behind Fisher's celebrated writings, Zimmerman finds a passionate woman defined by "lifelong hungers." Using access to Fisher's private letters and with help from the family, Zimmerman paints Fisher's emotions and discoveries that she realized in those moments where her personality and adventurous palette intersect. "Her desire for food, for love and for attention of any kind, was relentless," writes Zimmerman. "Food helped her understand the world." In turn, Zimmerman's carefully crafted narrative urges readers to connect Fisher's expanding self-awareness to the literary career she built. It also maps the unique tastes Fisher found, then sensuously described along her way from a California childhood to her European (mostly French) and Mexican odysseys; three marriages; and the suicides of her second husband, Tim Parrish, in 1941 followed by that of her brother David a year later. This focused, smart, and engaging view serves MFK Fisher as both culinary writer and cultural icon.” -- Publisher’s Weekly


Anne Zimmerman holds a BA from Linfield College and an MA from San Diego State, where her thesis was a biographical study of the life of M.F.K. Fisher. She has spent extensive time researching Fisher at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College and is a food enthusiast and contributor to She lives in San Francisco.

An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher Cover Image
ISBN: 9781582435466
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Counterpoint LLC - March 15th, 2011