M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste
By Luke Barr
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.
"Starred Review. Barr finds delightful fodder for foodies." - Publishers Weekly
"Despite the readable and intimate style, this title will likely be of interest to only the most dedicated Fisher fan or food history buff." - Library Journal
"This book is beautifully written and totally fascinating to me, because these were my mentors - they inspired a generation of cooks in this country." - Alice Waters
"Provence, 1970 is as much a meditation on the nature of transition and the role of friendship, as it is on the power of food to unite, divide, and ultimately nourish the soul. For this a 'non-foodie' it was a revelation - for the connoisseur among us, it may well be orgiastic." - Andrew McCarthy, author of The Longest Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down
"Luke Barr['s] graceful prose provides a thorough, affecting account of their talents and reveals how their disparate personalities defined the very essence of French cuisine." - Bob Spitz, author of Dearie
"Luke Barr has written one of the most delicious and sensuous books of all time. It brims with love of food and wine." - Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante's Handbook and Super Sad True Love Story
"Luke Barr has written a lovely, shimmering, immersive secret history of an important moment that nobody knew was important at the time." - Kurt Andersen
"Both a meditation on the power of friendship and the uses of nostalgia, Provence, 1970 is the kind of book you want to linger with as long as possible." - Daphne Merkin
"Luke Barr paints an intimate portrait of the ambitious, quarrelsome, funny, hungry pioneers who brought about a great culinary shift." - Alex Prud'homme, co-author with Julia Child of My Life in France
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Luke Barr is an editor at Travel + Leisure magazine. A great-nephew of M.F.K. Fisher, he was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Switzerland, and graduated from Harvard. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and their two daughters.
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