Alice Waters is the cebrated owner of Chez Panisse, an internationally known restaurant in Berkeley, California and the author of numerous cookbooks. Ms. Waters is also well known for being a big part of the food revolution of the last several decades. Her attitude toward food and cooking steered us back from the trend of buying everything from the shelf and freezer.
“I’m convinced that the underlying principles of good cooking are the same everywhere. These principles have less to do with recipes and techniques than they do with gathering good ingredients, which for me is the essence of cooking.”
Ms. Waters believes that if we follow these principles we will transform our cooking.
- Eat locally and sustainably
- Eat seasonally
- Shop at farmers’ markets
- Plant a garden
- Conserve, compost and recycle
- Cook simply, engaging all your senses
- Cook together
- Eat together
- Remeber food is precious
The book is divided into two parts. The first part is “lessons and foundations” and, believe me, this is not just for new cooks. I could have used this forty years ago. I especially liked her section on stocking a pantry, what equipment to buy, and menu planning. In Part I she also covers basic procedures like making broth and sauces, cooking beans and pastas, slow cooking and grilling, and on to desserts. It’s a fabulous cooking-school-in-a-book. I recommend Part I if you want a solid understanding of the basic skills of a good cook.
Part II is the gravy – it’s all about the recipes. The very first chapter of this section reminds me of my youngest granddaughter, Lou. Even as a little one she would say when hungry, “I need a little something.” In this”little something” chapter the author gives us marinated cheese with herbs and olives, stuffed eggs, fresh-pickled vegetables and a lot more. The rest of Part II covers more sauces, salads, soups, pasta, breads, eggs and cheese, vegetables, fish, poultry, meat and more desserts. I’d love to tell you about the various recipes but I’m afraid this post will be extremely long.
Ms. Waters completes her book with some resources, a glossary and an excellent index. For more information about Alice Waters, her restaurants and even her foundation work at a local middle school, visit Chez Panisse.
- The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution
- by Alice Waters
- Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2007
- My Rating: A
[Source: I borrowed this copy from the public library but it is obvious I need to buy my own copy.}
Copies of this book are also available at Amazon.
For more books about food and/or other foodie type discussions, visit Weekend Cooking.