The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

Confession: I am reviewing a book that I am not even a quarter of the way through.

Explanation: it’s a cookbook, so there are a significant amount of recipes so I’m spending a lot of time being either hungry or nauseous while I read (yay pregnancy!) It’s also a primer, so I feel like I should be practicing as I read...which means that this book will take a long time to get through.

Also, it’s from the library and I have hit my “renew” limit because someone else wants to read it. So I’m going to have to buy it.

There’s been a lot of talk about food lately. In the media (mostly related to contamination and food-bourne illness,) in politics (that pesky White House Garden,) hollywood (Julie and Julia, Food, Inc, The Botany of Desire, etc. etc. etc,) and of course - in my kitchen. Husband hates the word “foodie” but it applies. (We say “epicureans.”) We are big fans of Michael Pollan, but this is my first exposure to Alice Waters. Which is a shame because she’s a chef who’s been espousing eating the way I like to eat for roughly as long as I’ve been alive. If you flip the book over to read the blurb on the back you’re met with her fundamental guidelines:

  • Eat locally and sustainably
  • Eat seasonally
  • Shop at Farmer’s Markets
  • Plant A Garden
  • Conserve, compost, and recycle
  • Cook Simply
  • Cook together
  • Eat Together
  • Remember food is precious

Yup. Get Waters and Pollan together on a “this is how our food should be” task force and the commercial food industry will start sleeping with their lights on. As well they should.

Here’s what makes this a compelling read (in addition to being a book full of tasty recipes) is that Waters genuinely loves her subject, and that makes the reader love her subject. You not only want to follow her every instruction, but you want to sit in the kitchen with her and listen as she explains the “why” behind the “how” and demonstrates how to mash garlic just so to bring the clove to its full potential and make your dish that much better.

And then you want to sit around the table with her and relish every bite.

Or maybe I’m just hungry...


Bethany said...

I should check out one of her books. Did you see her interview on 20/20 (or was it 60 minutes?). Very fascinating and eye opening.

Emily said...

I missed it! Maybe it's online...

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