For fans of M.F.K. Fisher’s classic The Art of Eating, Julia Child’s My Life in France, and Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Luke Barr, the grandnephew of M.F.K. Fisher, tells the dramatic story of friendships and rivalries in PROVENCE, 1970, when Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and other culinary icons gathered in Provence in 1970 and debated (and unwittingly shaped) the future of food in America and it’s taste.
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The memoirs and biographies of M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Judith Jones, and James Beard have attracted major readership, but never before have all these icons been gathered into a single biography as they are here in Provence, 1970.
M.F.K. Fisher guides our story in this group biography of a time and place when a circle of food icons gathered, and the American food movement as we know it was born. In Provence, 1970 combines reportage and never-before-revealed material from journals and letters to re-create this pivotal moment in culinary history, when Fisher, Julia Child, Judith Jones, James Beard, and Richard Olney collaborated and clashed over the future of food. Would American cookery build on the traditions of classic French cuisine, or would it strive to pioneer new, fresh flavors? Would popular personalities such as Child and Beard prove more influential than rising chefs and critics such as Olney? Fisher chronicled their meals and debates, a food history version of A Moveable Feast, as the major figures in the culinary world convened in Provence for a series of dinners and gossip sessions.
Praise for Provence, 1970:
“Luke Barr has inherited the clear and inimitable voice of his great-aunt M.F.K. Fisher, and deftly portrays a crucial turning point in the history of food in America with humor, intimacy, and deep perception. Provence, 1970 is beautifully written and totally fascinating to me, because these were my mentors-they inspired a generation of cooks in this country.”— Alice Waters
“Luke Barr has brought the icons of the food world vibrantly to life and captured the moment when their passion for what’s on the plate sparked a cultural breakthrough. His 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
“Luke Barr conjures the past and pries open the window on a little-known moment in time that had profound implications on how we live today. With an insider’s access, a detective’s curiosity, and a poet’s sensitivity, he illuminates a culinary clique that not only changed the way we eat, but how we think about food. And he does much more. 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 ‘non-foodie’ it was a revelation-for the connoisseur among us, it may well be orgiastic.”—Andrew McCarthy
“Brilliant conversation, dimmed lights, culinary intrigue, urchin mousse, a glass of Sauternes…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
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