Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher is born on this day in Albion, Michigan.
Her father, a fourth-generation writer, purchased a newspaper in Whittier, California, where the family moved in 1911. In 1929, Fisher moved to France with her first husband, where she developed her twin passions: food and writing. She published her first story in 1934, using her initials to conceal her identity. In 1937, her first book, Serve It Forth, was published. She was highly productive for the next decade or so, producing nine books on food, including How to Cook a Wolf (1942) and The Gastronomic Me (1943).
After divorcing her husband, Fisher returned to the States, where she had a daughter, Anna, out of wedlock in the early 1940s. She never revealed Anna’s paternity. She married writer and painter Dillwyn Parris, who was later struck by a fatal illness and committed suicide. Perhaps distracted by her tumultuous family life, she produced little during the 1950s. However, during the last two decades of her life, she lived in a cottage in California’s Sonoma Valley and produced another dozen books, as well as many essays for the New Yorker. She died of Parkinson’s disease in 1992. She was celebrated for both her gastronomic expertise and her engaging, literary writing style.