For those of you in New York, tonight at 7:30 Alice Waters will be at BAM talking with Hilton Als about her new book:
Alice Waters. Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook. Clarkson Potter, 2017.
It’s a memoir of her early years leading up to the launch of Chez Panisse, her now famous Berkeley restaurant, in 1971 at the age of 27. The book recounts familiar stories of her discovery in France of the taste of fresh ingredients, and her attempts to recreate those tastes in America.
But it also draws on her experience with Berkeley politics in the 1960s as the inspiration for her life’s work. Most touchingly, she dedicates the book to Mario Savio, the now-deceased leader of Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement, and talks about the importance of her work on Bob Scheer’s ultimately unsuccessful run for Congress in 1966.
The book is a lovely food memoir that answers lots of questions about what got Alice started on this path.
What it does not do is explain the enormous effectiveness of her moral force—the movement for fresh, local, seasonal, sustainable foods and ingredients; the White House garden; and the thousands of schools with gardens and food as part of the standard curriculum.
I hope she will do another memoir to explain how all that happened, as well.