30th Birthday Giveaway: M.F.K. Fisher’s ‘A Cordiall Water’ First Edition Print {1961}

A Ramblings post written by on January 27, 2014



A certain gesture at a certain time, the inner warmth of the mild tonic bath, the trustful obedience – healing, it is called!

MFK Fisher A Cordiall Water 5

This day marks my 30th trip around our star, the sun, and I am pretty excited to leave my roaring twenties. Last year, I got my first few grays which was pretty exciting, but there’s been none since – I think that’s kind of weird. Maybe they skip a year or two? I think the way we measure age in this country is not ideal since for all of my life, I’ve felt as if I was an old woman trapped inside a girl’s body. 

I didn’t really celebrate my own birthday until my 7th year – when I moved to the states, where people celebrate their continued existence by receiving gifts and eating cakes. I liked the cakes, but I thought getting gifts on your birthday was a little odd, if not too commercial for those existential parties. Over time, I became more private about my birthday and for years, only thought about how I really wanted to celebrate it, which is, to give gifts rather than to receive –  so… what better time to start than at the beginning of my 3rd  4th decade?

The gift I’ve chosen is a small one in size, but I think its worth is immeasurable for lovers of good words. If you’re familiar with my books and read here often, you’ll know that I reference MFK Fisher quite a bit. Her words are like literary medicine, and this title is on the same subject of healing: a charming mixed bag of nostrums, elixirs, restoratives, and fortifiers and intersperces them with autobiographical anecdotes. Written with just the right amount of salve in sarcasm, I think it’s a perfect quick read, especially if you’re looking for your own remedy or just seeking medicinal charm from old texts. Plus, this first edition hard copy has a precious drawing of a rabbit drinking some titillating potion. It’s probably the best cover design I’ve seen in ages. The book and its pages are in a near perfect condition, save a drop or two of lawless citrus juice that flew about while I was taking some photos.

 Note: If you like antiquarian titles and food, check out Omnivore Books – it’s my favorite source for cookery books, and I love supporting local business! 

“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”
― Lewis Carroll, who is also celebrating his birthday today.

6MFK Fisher


This “giveaway” is open for international readers/shipping, so if you’re on the internet, I can probably find a way to ship it to you… Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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29 Responses to “30th Birthday Giveaway: M.F.K. Fisher’s ‘A Cordiall Water’ First Edition Print {1961}”

  1. Chelsea Ward says:

    Happy birthday! I just got a lovely pair of Minnetonka moccasins for my birthday today! Such a great week for birthdays 😉

  2. Happy Birthday! I love the giving rather than receiving on your birthday. In America, so many of us have grown accustomed to receiving! I’ve been trying to get some of m.f.k fishers books at the library but they don’t have them. Definitely putting on my “buy” list!

  3. carey says:

    Happy (30th!) Birthday, Phi!! I’m pushing 32 and still have yet to see a grey hair — such a bummer. (I’d just really love a classy streak of silver, or even little ones peppered throughout. Oh well, someday!)

    And what a fantastic giveaway. MFK Fisher is one of my absolute favorites too. <3

  4. Lindsey says:

    happy birthday phi! what a super cool way to celebrate 🙂 and i’m totally drooling over all these gorgeous images!

  5. Naomi says:

    Happy Birthday! It’s gonna be a fantastic year!

  6. Erika says:

    Happy Birthday to you!! What an amazing giveaway 🙂

  7. The best gift I ever gifted was a tiny origami 1″ x 1″ paper box I made by hand from a photo of my girlfriend with her hubby. I filled it with a favorite quote about love and friendship written on a teeny-tiny paper. She has it sitting under a small glass cloche in her kitchen.

  8. erin says:

    A very happy birthday to you! (and I’m totally checking out Omnivore Books next time I’m in SF!)

  9. Katrina says:

    Happy Birthday! I, too, enjoy giving more than receiving gifts, especially when it involves cooking. The best gift I’ve given is a meal for my mother’s birthday – homemade chips & salsas with flan to finish. Simple but it combined all of her favorites.

    Now, I’m drooling over the Fisher.

  10. Danielle Z. says:

    It is such a lovely dust jacket! Also, until you said it, I never realized how perfect the word “lawless” is to describe citrus juice. I have played the role of the outwitted sheriff so. many. times.

  11. Linda says:

    Oh no, I missed your birthday! Happy belated! Hope it was a good one filled with lots of… gift-giving? 🙂

  12. Heather says:

    Yay! Happy Birthday! What a darling little book.

  13. HAPPY HAPPY (ONE DAY LATE) BIRTHDAYYYYY!!! I love your outlook on getting older. I also feel like an old woman in a young girl’s body but am still terrified of growing older (mostly just of my body giving out on me)! Your excitement for aging makes me feel a little less anxious.

  14. Riffat Saeed says:

    Thaks for great giveaway!
    I gave a cellphone to my friend & received a Poetry book 🙂

  15. Michelle B says:

    One of the best gifts I have ever received were a pair of earrings from my boyfriend which were so thoughtfully picked out and showed that he really paid attention to my style and likes.

  16. Judy Thomas says:

    The best gifts I have ever received are the home made doll’s clothes and beds that my mother and sisters made for me when I was a little girl many years ago 🙂

  17. heather r says:

    this isn’t very interesting, but the most useful thing i’ve ever gotten was a gps (before you could use your cell!) – trust me, i needed that thing badly!!

    • phi says:

      not at all!! I am interested in the most banal thing… and a pre google map gpa navigator would be indispensable!

  18. Mai Tran says:

    Always in my bag: the lucky money my western man gave me as a Lunar New Year gift.

  19. I love my tagine I got for my 30th!

  20. kitblu says:

    One of the best gifts I have received is a USB bracelet. My plan is to put all my important files on it and wear the bracelet all the time. This way I will always have them safe.

  21. My boyfriend took me to Japan for my Christmas present the year before last so this year I got us flights to Thailand. We’re leaving on Friday 😀

  22. Phi — I’m so EXCITED!!!!!! Seriously, I woke up and checked your site first thing and there was my name. How can I be so lucky. This amazing book and your “eternal affections” on the occasion of your 30th time around the sun. Thank you!!!! You’re a peach or maybe a cordial. Yvonne 🙂

    • phi says:

      Congrats I can’t wait to send it! I sent you an email last night… did you get it? You should see a weird symbol –>> φ

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