I am sad to report that Judith Jones, one of the great culinary editors in my lifetime, has died at the ripe old age of 93. As reported in the New York Times, “the cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, her step-daughter Bronwyn Dunne said.”
She is best known for introducing Julia Child to fledgling American cooks as well as other culinary giants, such as Marcella Hazan, James Beard and Lidia Bastianich. Nevertheless, I read in her extended obituary that her interests ranged far beyond cooking to existentialism (Camus and Sartre) and John Updike.
I was surprised to learn that Judith Jones was largely responsible for finding and publishing the Diary of Anne Frank.
The New York Times does a wonderful job in summarizing Judith’s great contributions to America’s culinary enlightenment, but I still remember her luminous presence in the remarkable book, Provence 1970, which was written by Luke Barr, the great nephew of the legendary food writer M.F.K. Fisher.
This is a wonderful book which describes a summer in 1970 when some of the great luminaries in American cuisine gathered to spend time together to discuss one of my favorite subjects: Food. I seem to recall that this extended get-together occurred at the Provence summer home of Simone Beck who co-authored Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Julia Child and Louisette Bertholle.
Provence 1970 is far more than a treatise on food. It is a delightful story of how great friends would get together each summer in southern France to enjoy each other’s company. Sipping champagne and eating oysters in Paris was a most appropriate way for the Fisher sisters to recover after an “arduous” trip across the Atlantic by ship.
Judith, you will be missed.
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