"The First Insouciant Spell" is one of the key chapters from Joan Reardon's Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher in which the newly-married Mary Frances Kennedy sails from California with her husband Alfred Fisher to study in France. They enroll at the University of Dijon, where she learns the language and literature of the country and is initiated into the gastronomy of Burgundy, one of the famous wine-growing regions of France. Living in a pension in the midst of family celebrations and crises gave Fisher an intimate knowledge of the closed circle of French family life, and it supplied her with a cast of characters she would introduce into her books over the years. It was in Dijon also that she developed her special fondness for waiters, shopkeepers, and taxi drivers, and the experience inspired her earliest writings about food and wine.

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