Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Published by
Counterpoint (2016-11)
Current material
2nd Pass Pages
Original language
Literary essays


Selected Essays

by Fussell, Betty

An engaging anthology of favorite Fussell essays. Eat Live Love Die follows Betty Fussell’s career through numerous publications such as Redbook, Wine & Food, The New Yorker and the New York Times. Whether she is writing about her son the bodybuilder or about the difficulty of killing and cleaning eels, the acclaimed and beloved writer always leaves you hungry for more. In this volume Fussell’s essays are sorted into several sections: Mirrors, People, Places, and Cultures.

Betty Fussell is an inspiring badass. She’s not just the award-winning author of numerous books ranging in topic from biography and memoir to cookbooks and food history. She’s not just a winner of the James Beard Foundation’s Journalism Award who was inducted into their “Who’s Who of American Food and Beverage” in 2009. And she’s not just an extraordinary person whose fifty years’ worth of essays on food, travel, and the arts have appeared in scholarly journals, popular magazines, and newspapers as varied as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Saveur, The New Yorker, and Vogue.

This is a woman who at 82 years old (and despite being half-blind) went deer hunting for the very first time in the Montana foothills with her son, Sam (as described in her 2010 essay for the New York Times Magazine). She got her deer.
This is a woman who won hearts with her 1988 article for Lear’s in which she said: “For years I had resisted the traditional tour group to China because, as a lover of Chinese food, I was damned if I was going to eat tourist hotel fodder in a country that has produced one of the world’s most magnificent cuisines.”
This is a woman who, in a 2005 essay for Vogue, declared that as a young twenty-one-year-old bride she had taught herself Latin and German from scratch (on top of teaching herself to cook) because “housewifery wasn’t enough.”
And that is what is so incredible about Fussell’s writing — one subject is never enough. Whether she’s writing about her son the body-builder or about the difficulty of killing and cleaning eels, she always leaves you hungry.

BETTY FUSSELL, a winner of the James Beard Foundation’s Journalism Award, taught literature and film at the New School for Social Research and writing at Columbia University. In the 1980s she left teaching to write full time. Her most recent, and eleventh, book is Raising Steaks: The Life & Times of American Beef (Mariner, 2008). Her food memoir, My Kitchen Wars (North Point Press 1999), was performed in Hollywood and New York as a one-woman show by actress Dorothy Lyman.

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Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

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The idiosyncratic food writer harvests some of her best work in a savory collection that doubles as a memoir and declaration of faith … A dazzling showcase for Fussell's delicious ability to "taste...words with the kind of pleasure that turns cooking fires into the fires of love.

Review: Kirkus, starred review

Award-winning writer Betty Fussell’s essay collection reveals a splendid mind, a masterful touch, and the high points of an honorable career. She is one of the culinary world’s treasures.

Review: Wall Street Journal

Honest and evocative … Fussell’s writing is so deeply felt and beautifully rendered that she makes every topic she chooses feel vital to the reader…. Whether she’s writing about food, her primary matter (though this covers everything from mayonnaise to Jell-O), her complex family life or culinary superstars like M.F.K. Fisher and Alice Waters, Fussell is a gifted essayist and a meditative thinker, as enriching and relevant as she makes her subjects.

Review: New York Times Book Review

Counterpoint spoke with Betty about the people and places that inspired this essay collection and asked her what made her write this: Fussell: TIME. Running out of it. When I started writing seriously, 50 years ago, I was already in my 30s with a husband and 2 kids. Once started, I was always on a deadline, a metaphor for— ‘Do it now or you’re dead.’ When you’re 89, the metaphor is literal.”

Quote: Counterpoint

One of "25 Great Essay Collections from 2016.

Review: Bookriot

“My Worst Thanksgiving Ever,” a hilarious account of how the holiday meal can go seriously wrong. - Betty’s essay in THE DAILY BEAST “What to Do When Thanksgiving's Special Guest Doesn't Show” - Betty essay on Food52

Quote: The Daily Beast

A restless intelligence and energy pulses under the surface of these essays, even when the topic is as banal as the deliciousness of French chicken...Whatever the subject at hand, Fussell meets the chief requirement of the essayist: She’s good company. Opinionated and sometimes caustic, she moves easily from high to low, from the scholarly to the deeply personal. She is as comfortable singing the praises of hamburgers as she is soufflé au calvados, as confident in her allusions to 1930s radio jingles as in her quotations from Andrew Marvell.

Review: The Washington Post

She's one nasty woman, that Betty Fussell. Now 89, Fussell came of age in the heyday of bright and breezy Bettys — Betty Grable, Betty Hutton, Betty Crocker — but she clearly gravitated toward the one dangerous dame of the bunch, Bette Davis.... [L]et me quickly add that Fussell is also very funny and inspiring. Some of the best essays here are the most recent, written in Fussell's dotage. Aging is a hot literary topic these days, but no one else I've read has captured the bizarre acceleration of time as we age quite the way Fussell does... Move over T. S. Eliot; [her essay on aging] is charged, spoken-word poetry on the eternal theme of "Hurry up please it's time." Fussell is said to be writing a second memoir, this one a "manual of survival in New York City." Hurry up, please, I can't wait.

Review: NPR's Fresh Air

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