Author: M.F.K. Fisher
The book was not quite what I was expecting. After reading Bee Wilson's book Swindled, which included details of the lengths some went to in order to endure dire food shortages during the War, I anticipated more basic survival cooking. But of course, Fisher was writing from an American perspective, not a European one and that makes all the difference. She writes of how to manage with less meat than you could buy before, not how to make the most out of sawdust and grubs or perhaps even literally how to cook a lupine trespasser should one have the misfortune of wandering through the yard. (I must admit, the idiom of a wolf at the door was a new one for me.)
I've also grown accustomed to Fisher writing more about eating than cooking and this book definitely spends more time in the kitchen than at the table, including full recipes. While some of her advice is dated - she raves about canned and frozen vegetables, hard to imagine any food writer doing that now - many of her basic principles for how to live simply on a limited budget are sound and eternally relevant. She also includes unexpected chapters on such topics as feeding your pets, drinking well (actually not so unexpected from Fisher) and maintaining one's feminine charms while slaving away in the kitchen (I especially appreciate her ultimate conclusion with that one: don't worry about it).
The main draw to Fisher as a reader is her effortless wit. If I had known the woman in real life, I would always have angled to sit near her at a dinner party. While her humor shines through, the editing of How to Cook a Wolf leaves much to be desired. When Fisher revised the book in 1951, she included footnotes, mainly to highlight the significant differences in American life just a few years later. The footnotes are embedded as parenthetical comments within the text - more than a little distracting. Once one gets used to the format, though, one realizes that most of the book's snark is contained within those parentheses.
I don't think this would be a good first Fisher book for a curious reader. The editing would be more annoying without previous exposure to her style. But for practical advice, it is the best of the three books I've read so far.