The success of the food revolution started by Alice Waters can be measured in the fact that, more than three decades later, its tenets feel downright remedial. Eat locally and sustainably! Shop at farmer’s markets! Plant a garden! Waters has become the Shakespeare of modern food writers, her truth so assimilated into gospel that it’s easy to forget the voice others imitate. Here, she’s brilliantly back to basics: discussing essential cooking supplies (buy a mortar and pestle), defining terms in a glossary , and distilling her principles into artful, often everyday recipes. Many of these are as simple as plunking down a plate of fresh veggies with some aioli or vinaigrette. Others, like a classic boiled dinner, would require days of uninterrupted devotion to prepare. None would do without access to the freshest and most pristine ingredients — still not a given for many. But Waters has done more than anyone else to ensure that access for the largest number of eaters, regardless of age, income, or geographic location; she’s earned the right to proselytize and be heard. —
About the Writer
Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.