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Pursuits | By Elisabeth Luard

Elisabeth Luard in agreement with the great American food-essayist M F K Fisher on the superiority of homemade pickles, relishes and chutneys over shop-bought

The pleasure of preserving summer’s glut was an important consideration for a pioneering population such as that of Pennsylvania in the early 1900s, a nostalgic task addressed with skill and wit by Catherine Plagemann’s Fine Preserving. It was first published in 1967, and reprinted thirty years later by Aris Books with annotations and a new introduction by the great American food-essayist M F K Fisher. Mrs Fisher’s lyrical writings on Paris and Provence were credited with reminding her fellow countrymen what would be lost if European culture vanished in the Second World War. In her eighties, Mrs Fisher lived and worked in a grace-and-favour bungalow in Sonoma Valley, California, surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. Her gift to those visitors who brought news of Provence, as I did in 1987, was her newly published, annotated edition of Mrs Plagemann. The two authors had much in common  but disagreed on the...

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