In late 1970, James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones all happened — more or less coincidentally — to be in the south of France. The new book Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste, written by M.F.K. Fisher’s great-nephew Luke Barr, recounts that time and how the group helped shaped America’s love of French cuisine. The following excerpt tracks how each would arrive in France — and the foods that compelled them to return again and again.
Julia Child, at her vacation home in Grasse, France, in 1978. Photo: AP/Corbis