September's Donated Book
Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook
By Alice Waters
“People want to know how I came to open a restaurant at twenty-seven years old. I never went to culinary school, I never cooked professionally. Why a restaurant? Why this kind of cooking? How did I have the courage to open it? The truth is, I’d never really thought about it deeply until now.”
It has been four and a half decades since Alice Waters opened the doors of Chez Panisse, the “little French restaurant” in Berkeley, California, that has been at the leading edge of the American culinary revolution ever since. Fueled in equal part by naiveté and a relentless pursuit of beauty and pure flavor, Alice transformed our relationship with food, fine dining, and what it means to eat well.
In Coming to My Senses, Alice reflects on the wandering road that brought her to 1517 Shattuck Avenue, culminating in the opening of the iconic establishment in 1971. Recalling for the first time in her own words the people, places, times, and meals that have touched her life, she paints an indelible portrait of the young woman from suburban New Jersey whose formative sojourn in Europe ultimately led her to the epicenter of Northern California’s burgeoning counterculture in the late 1960’s. There, drawn into the tumultuous political and personal events, she refined her personal aesthetic, never faltering in her pursuit of the exquisite, the exceptional, the right taste.
Interspersed with reflections on the doors that have opened since Chez Panisse changed the trajectory of her life and American food culture, Coming to My Senses shows the quiet determination and reckless enthusiasm that inspire Alice’s activism, advocacy, and creativity. At once deeply personal and modestly understated, this coming-of-age story offers a never-before-seen look at the makings of a rebel who quietly redefined the way generations of chefs and food lovers think about food, one salad at a time.
Alice Waters is the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café in Berkeley, California. She founded the Edible Schoolyard and has received the National Humanities Medal, the French Legion of Honor, the WSJ Magazine Humanitarian Innovator Award, and three James Beard Awards. Alice is vice-president of Slow Food International and the author of thirteen books. Her most recent books are My Pantry, The Art of Simple Food II, 40 Years of Chez Panisse, and In the Green Kitchen. She lives in Berkeley.