Provence 1970. Enjoying conversations from Beard, Child, Olney & Fisher

1970ProvenceProvence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste

I have been a fan of Julia Child and M.F.K. Fisher for some time now. This book intrigued the Francophile and the foodie side of me. Imagine being in Provence in 1970 when some of the esteemed creative forces in the food industry meet up. That’s a recipe for success and great stories (yes, pun intended). Fisher has written wonderful books full of detail – through her notes we are treated to a play-by-play of some of the meals and conversations shared between Julia Child, James Beard, Richard Olney and M.F.K. Fisher.

Way before the Food Network was a staple on television and chefs held a celebrity status, these four were enjoying good basic foods and inspired to teach the average American cook to use fresh ingredients. Julia, and her writing partner Simone Beck, sought to make French foods simple and less formal for us average cooks. As I mentioned, there are good stories in this book but some of it is evidently conjecture by the author Luke Barr. He is the nephew of M.F.K. Fisher and had access to her notes. But there are some stories and conversations that can’t be anything other than pure speculation on Barr’s part.

There were disagreements between the aforementioned food giants, that’s natural, but some of the portrayals and scenes were quite uncomplimentary. Was Olney truly such an odious man? Who knows as they are all deceased and so, no rebuttal will be possible.

The scenes of Provence are written of in great detail, you can almost smell the food and flowers. The menus are equally detailed, some have your mouth watering. Overall I give this book a solid 3 out of 5. Great detail, I just question some of the conversations.

A basic dish I see in many books for us Franophiles is Quiche. This simple recipe may be viewed at Squirrel Head Manor.


*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions, nice and no-so-nice are my own 🙂

Adding my review to Goodreads and Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


10 thoughts on “Provence 1970. Enjoying conversations from Beard, Child, Olney & Fisher

  1. I started this one but somehow put it aside. Thanks for the reminder to pick it up again. It does get tricky when writers try to recreate conversations when they weren’t actually there.


  2. Am I the only one who hasn’t heard of this one yet?! LOL! Sounds like an interesting read–I haven’t read Julia Child’s Life in France. The quiche looks delicious, though! I loved quiche growing up but for some reason haven’t made it for my family yet.


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