Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (July 3, 1908 - June 22, 1992), the mother of American food writing whose compelling prose and keen observations on food and culture continue to inspire generations of readers, writers, cooks; and eaters; granted LDEI permission to establish an award in her name before her death. The M.F.K. Fisher Award of Excellence in Culinary Writing was established in 2006. Renamed the LDEI M.F.K. Fisher Prize in 2021, the prize now awards excellence in any media format that broadens understanding of the intersection of food and culture.
Read more about MFK Fisher’s storied life in the biography Poet of the Appetites: the Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher (North Point Press, 2004) written by LDEI member Joan Reardon. Dame Reardon also compiled and edited the The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2004) a collection of Ms. Fisher’s best known works: Serve it Forth, Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, The Gastronomical Me, and An Alphabet for Gourmets.
The Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) is preserving the literary legacy of M.F.K. Fisher and her Last House located on the 535-acre Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen, CA, where she lived from 1971 until her death in 1992. The Last House captures the spirit and flavor of her life on the preserve and as an exclusive destination honoring her love of food, wine, literature and nature. Learn more about it here.
The Last House Writing Contest for emerging writers was established in 2020. The writers were asked to explore the connection between environmental conservation, science and nature, food and drink, and the cultures surrounding them. Read all the 2020 winning essays including the grand prize-winning poem entitled Rain written by 10-year-old Josh Cohen.