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THE GASTRONOMICAL ME. (Association copy - Arnold Gingrich)
Duell, Sloan, & Pearce (1944), NY - x, 295 pp., 8vo, original green cloth. In the first issue pictorial dustjacket with the suppressed photograph of the author in a sultry pose on rear jacket panel. INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY MFK FISHER on the front free endpaper: "Lise and Gardiner Miller - how surprising! - Koszul (?) and now California - and always my best - MFK Fisher, chez Blyth - 21.xi.47." The cryptic inscription is possibly in reference to the name and address penned to the verso of the front jacket flap in MFK Fisher's hand (different ink, different nib than ffep inscription): "Arnold Gingrich / Le Paquis / St. Saphorin / Lavaux / Vaud / Switzerland." "Le Paquis" was the idyllic cottage and property overlooking the Swiss Riviera originally owned by author and illustrator Dillwyn (Tim) Parrish and his sister Anne Parrish. In 1933 Dillwyn and his wife Gigi were neighbors of MFK Fisher and her first husband Alfred (Al) in Southern California’s Long Beach. The 2 couples became close friends and endeavored to form an artists’ colony at Le Paquis before the breakup of both marriages in 1937. MFK and Dillwyn, who were married in 1938, were unable to keep the Swiss property due to financial pressures. This history is the subject of much of "The Gastronomical Me" (Dillwyn is called "Chexbres" in the book), though not all the details are revealed. Joan Reardon in her biography of MFK Fisher "Poet of the Appetites"(North Point Press, 2004) fills in many of the gaps, and in his memoir "Toys of a Lifetime" (Knopf, 1966). Arnold Gingrich (1903-1976) – editor, publisher, founder of Esquire magazine, provides more. Gingrich, who in 1943 had contracted with MFK to write a monthly food-related column for "Coronet" magazine, remembers purchasing Le Paquis in 1945 from the Dutch doctor who had bought the property from MFK and Dillwyn in 1939. This, according to Gingrich, was accomplished through the agency of MFK (Parrish had died in 1941), who was contacted by Dr. de Jonge – hoping to sell the property back to her – on the same day that Gingrich called her wondering if she still owned Le Paquis and wanted to sell! MFK told a different story in a 1966 letter to her friend Grace Holmes (within which she confesses to the kindling of a romance with Gingrich) – MFK states that "He (Gingrich) and his wife bought Le Paquis from Timmie and me." (Reardon, p. 333). The two had kept in touch with one another over the years – including Gingrich sending MFK a wedding announcement (of his third marriage) in 1952 and MFK contacting Gingrich in the early 1960s in hopes of buying Le Paquis back from him (he had already sold it). Their romance, which began in 1966 and lasted until Gingrich’s death in 1976, was, according to Reardon, "inevitable." One can only speculate on when, and under what circumstance, MFK wrote Arnold Gingrich’s name and Le Paquis address on the underside of the front jacket flap of her fourth book, And what she meant by the inscription she penned to the endpaper in 1947: "Koszul"? "Chez Blyth"? In 1947 MFK was living with her third husband, Donald Friede, and her 2 children in Los Angeles and struggling to support the family with her writing. Whatever the story, an early inscription, together with a provocative association. Mild wear to spine ends, darkening to front free endpapers, owner name (Lise Miller / Los Angeles / June 1944) to title page, else very good in moderately worn pictorial jacket with chips to spine ends [Attributes: First Edition; Signed Copy; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Chanticleer Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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