Provence, 1970

M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste

By Luke Barr
(Clarkson Potter Publishers, Hardcover, 9780307718341, 320pp.)

Publication Date: October 22, 2013

List Price: $26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the November 2013 Indie Next List
“During one incredible month in December 1970, the most influential personalities of French cuisine - James Beard, Simone Beck, Julia Child, M.F.K .Fisher, Judith Jones, and Richard Olney -gathered in the south of France to cook and eat together. Conversation centered on the future of cooking and sparks flew over the superiority and snobbery of French cuisine and the value of other ethnic cuisines, including American cooking. Barr, Fisher's great-nephew, has successfully pieced together her notes, journals, and letters to create a fascinating glimpse into culinary history. Deliciously entertaining reading!”
-- Jennifer Gwydir, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX


Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today’s tastes and culture, the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew. In Provence, 1970, he captures this seminal season, set against a stunning backdrop in cinematic scope—complete with gossip, drama, and contemporary relevance.

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