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Review: Provence, 1970

December 31, 2013

Provence, 1970

Several people, including Julia Child, M. F. K. Fisher, and James Beard, had a huge influence on American taste and cooking in the late 1960s.  They appreciated good food and exposed Americans to new recipes and cooking techniques.  Six of these culinary greats all happened to be in Provence during the winter of 1970 and they spent some time traveling and dining together.  Using M. F. K. Fisher’s journals and letters, her great nephew, Luke Barr, has reconstructed much of that historic time in his book, Provence, 1970.

I wasn’t familiar with all of the culinary greats in this book but I still enjoyed it for its gossipy nature and peek back into time.  Fisher took meticulous notes so the most minute details, including the menus, are included in the book.  It seems everyone was unhappy with someone or something and ready to move on with a new phase of their lives.

I also enjoyed the book’s French setting.  I could picture many of the places mentioned and longed to visit them as I read the book.

I’m not sure I agree with Barr’s theory that the meeting of these culinary greats in Provence reinvented American cuisine but that didn’t keep me from enjoying this book.  This is one book foodies won’t want to miss!

I listened to the audio version of Provence, 1970.  John Rubinstein’s wonderful narration enhanced this audio book – his French accent is fantastic.  The audio is on 8 CDs and lasts approximately 9 hours.

Review copy provided by Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
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20 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2013 6:00 am

    Okay now this is a reconstructed biography I think I’d love! All those fiery personalities and lots of food. And I love the cover. :-) I shall look out for the audio edition too.

  2. December 31, 2013 6:26 am

    I read the book and thought it was pretty good. Lots of drama and snits surprised me though.

  3. December 31, 2013 8:19 am

    Interesting theory about American cuisine. I wonder what other culinary experts have to say about it.

  4. December 31, 2013 9:40 am

    The lots of food and a Provence setting is more than enough for me! A very happy new year to you.

  5. December 31, 2013 10:06 am

    I’ve seen this book around a little but didn’t know much about it. Can’t say that the cover or title was intriguing. Glad that you enjoyed it.

  6. December 31, 2013 10:40 am

    Sounds yummy!

  7. Beth Hoffman permalink
    December 31, 2013 2:17 pm

    I’ve never heard of this book, but it sounds like one I’d enjoy. Happy New Year to you and yours, Kathy!

  8. December 31, 2013 5:43 pm

    Sounds like a delicious read! Thanks for introducing this one to me. I think listening to this book would make me hungry :)

  9. December 31, 2013 7:06 pm

    I read some good reviews about this one. I imagine the culinary greats must have inspired and influenced one another.

  10. December 31, 2013 8:25 pm

    This looks great – I’m adding it to my “to read” list! I am a foodie and loved Julia Child’s memoir, “My Life in France”, this seems like a good follow-up to that one.

  11. December 31, 2013 9:07 pm

    I loved the book, but agree that MFK Fischer’s nephew may have overestimated the importance of this particular vacation!

  12. December 31, 2013 9:50 pm

    I have not even heard of this one but it sounds good! I’d love to visit France sometime and the food ~ oui! oui!

  13. January 1, 2014 12:10 am

    I’m dying to read this. I’ve heard so many good things, and I LOVE French-related books!

  14. January 1, 2014 12:22 am

    Another favorable review of this book I think I’ll have to add it to my list.

    Wishing you and your family a very Blessed New Year!

  15. January 1, 2014 1:17 am

    Forget Provence, I’ll welcome six tv chefs to my home anytime. And pay them with Gage smiles :)

  16. Beth F permalink
    January 1, 2014 7:03 am

    I loved this book! Good to know the narrator had the French down pat.

  17. January 1, 2014 9:31 am

    Sounds really nice. :)

  18. January 2, 2014 1:13 am

    sounds good to me. :)

  19. bookingmama permalink
    January 4, 2014 9:01 am

    I remember seeing this one and thinking that foodies would love it. I’m afraid the nuances would be lost on me.

  20. January 6, 2014 2:30 am

    Why have I been putting this off?? Moving it up the TBR. Having read a bit about all the foodie greats in the book, I can only imagine things got a wee bit catty!

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