Thursday, November 24, 2022

Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you celebrating our American tradition this week. It seemed to me like a perfect week to read about American food history.

One of the things I give thanks for are all you book blogging buddies who join me every week on Book Beginnings on Fridays! Thanks for gathering here each week to share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week (or just a book you feel like highlighting). 


On a cool August morning in August 2009, I drove up a sloping, narrow driveway in Glen Ellen, California, on my way to visit the past. 

-- from Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr.

In this opening scene, Barr describes visiting Last House, the home of his Great Aunt, legendary American food writer M.F.K. Fisher. Fisher lived in Last House for over 20 years before her death in 1992. 

This is one of my picks for Nonfiction November. If you like food writing or are interested in the history of American food, you can see from the publisher's description of this book why it is so appealing:

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.


Please add the link to your Book Beginning post in the linky box below. Use the hashtag #bookbeginnings if you share on social media, so we can find each other. 

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Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.


From Provence 1970:
All this was percolating just as M.F., Child, Beck, Beard, and Jones gathered in Provence in December 1970. They would be joined by Richard Olney, a self-trained American cook who had long lived in France and had just published The French Menu Cookbook, outlining a bohemian version of the French ideal.

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