Waters, restaurateur and chef extraordinaire, showcases basic cooking techniques every cook can and should master along with recipes using each method in this slim and attractive book. Derived from a Slow Food Nation event she helped organize, where notable chefs and foodies provided demonstrations on foundational procedures, Waters highlights a set of techniques that are universal to all cuisines. She covers the most basic of the basics, from stocking the pantry and washing lettuce to boiling pasta and wilting greens. In typical Waters fashion, recipes showcase just a few simple ingredients, allowing the natural flavors of the food to shine. Since dishes were chosen to highlight process, the result is a somewhat eclectic grouping of recipes, including pesto; spaghettini with garlic, parsley, and olive oil; dirty rice; Irish soda bread; and apple galette. She also covers peeling tomatoes, skinning peppers, roasting vegetables, and roasting and carving chicken. Throughout are color photographs of demonstrators from the event including Lidia Bastianich, Traci Des Jardins, Dan Barber, and David Chang, among others. Ideal for the cooking novice, this gem of a book captures the expertise of world-class chefs in an accessible, straightforward manner. (May)
Slow Food Nation, a 2008 event in San Francisco founded by Waters, brought together people interested in food and a sustainable future. This book is the result of Waters's invitation to 30 chefs—famous and unknown, including Lidia Bastianich, Dan Barber, and David Chang—to demonstrate simple but necessary cooking techniques at the event. The chefs made mayonnaise, guacamole, and poached eggs, and Thomas Keller roasted a chicken. The featured skills are accompanied by the chefs' recipes with comments from Waters. Waters also lists the tenets of the "Green Kitchen Manifesto," e.g., "Setting the table and eating together teaches essential values to our children." Some of the 30 lessons are available online at alicewatersgreenkitchen.com. VERDICT This is another fine cookbook by a well-respected chef and author. Highly recommended for fans of Slow Food Nation.—Christine Bulson, SUNY at Oneonta Lib.
There are instructions, but this isn't a manual. Rather, it's an interesting entry point for, say, the food-trending college graduate or the colleague who zaps Lean Cuisine at lunch while eyeing your leftover asparagus risottoor even seasoned cooks who'd like to clear their counters of gadgets and re-enter a life where the salad is tossed by hand (better to feel the vinaigrette distribution), the biscuits are made with homemade baking powder (beyond easy) and all the mayonnaises are above average. In Alice's world, the Slow Food revolution begins at home.
The New York Times