alice waters

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“There’s something about the idea of cooking through an entire cookbook that’s very appealing. Like you’re going to culinary school for $30. BuzzFeed asked chefs to pick what cookbooks they’d recommend cooking through and explain why. Michael Pollan, author of Cooked, recommends In The Green Kitchen by Alice Waters among others to help change cooking from an occasional thing into a gratifying routine.”

Fast Food Values vs Slow Food Culture


Alice Waters (chef, author, activist and UC alum) speaks at UCLA’s Science and Food event Edible Education about the ways in which food can be a catalyst for deeper transformations in education and culture: 

“Cheapness. Cheapness. This one drives me crazy.

In the United States, there’s a complete mixing up of the idea of affordability and cheapness. There’s a deep feeling that value is equated with bargains. No one understands the real prices of things anymore because 1.) no one tells them and 2.) everything is supported artificially with subsidies and corporate sleight of hand and credit.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been accused of being a Farmers market philanthropist because I believe in paying people for the true cost of their food and their products. And people say that I’m artificially driving up the prices of food in the markets. And I say, it’s the discounted prices that are artificial. I feel that it’s my responsibility to pay for the true cost of things, if I can.

The truth is — and I think we all need to learn this — things can be affordable, but they can never be cheap. When I hear somebody say, "I just got something cheaper here,” I feel intuitively that somebody, somewhere is being sold out.

You can not not pay for something here, without somebody over there not getting what they deserve. Or you can not not pay for something here and not expect to have other problems in your life over there. Like with the environment. Or your health. Or with the quality of your teachers. In a sense these deals cost more and more for all of us.“

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Edible Education

Alice Waters on fast food culture and slow food values

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been accused of being a Farmers market philanthropist because I believe in paying people for the true cost of their food and their products. And people say that I’m artificially driving up the prices of food in the markets. And I say, it’s the discounted prices that are artificial. I feel that it’s my responsibility to pay for the true cost of things, if I can.“

Slow food culture in a fast food world  


Chef Alice Waters believes that food can be a catalyst for deeper transformations in education and culture. At her UCLA talk, she argues that the grave issues we face — poverty, fair wages for workers, violence and climate change — are all by-products of something much deeper: a culture of fast food values.

In the United States, there’s a complete mixing up of the idea of “affordability” and “cheapness.” There’s a deep feeling that value is equated with bargains. No one understands the real prices of things anymore because: 1. no one tells them and 2. everything is supported artificially with subsidies and corporate sleight of hand and credit.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been accused of being a Farmers market philanthropist because I believe in paying people for the true cost of their food and their products. And people say that I’m artificially driving up the prices of food in the markets. And I say, it’s the discounted prices that are artificial. I feel that it’s my responsibility to pay for the true cost of things, if I can.

The truth is — and I think we all need to learn this —things can be affordable, but they can never be cheap.When I hear somebody say, “I just got something cheaper here,” I feel intuitively that somebody, somewhere is being sold out.

Alice Waters, on studying abroad in Paris, an experience that changed her life“I felt like I had never really eaten before. I had liked certain things but I didn’t understand how it fit into people’s lives in a delicious way. When I went [to Paris] and walked past the markets and ate in the little restaurants, it was like a revelation. … So when I came home, I felt like I could really make this happen in my own life.”

Alice Waters’s voice is breathy and quavers just slightly. When she says “roots” it sounds like “ruts”, which I take for some east coast WASPy accent holdover. Waters says “roots” a lot: about local organic produce, about the origins of the slow food movement, about her influence on chefs around the world. Waters has been all over the radio lately, giving interviews because it’s Chez Panisse’s 40th birthday. To celebrate, they’ve had a pop-up appertif bar on the Shattuck sidewalk all week. Tonight they’re giving away free pizza slices. 

Chez Panisse is arguably the most famous restaurant in America, for many important and delicious reasons. In March, James Nord and I had the pleasure of lunch in the café, upstairs. It was misty and you could barely make out the Bay through the wisteria vines and the fog. Every dish set before us was simple and lovely and gentle, which I think embodies the spirit of the restaurant just so. 

Cooking creates a sense of well-being for yourself and the people you love and brings beauty and meaning to everyday life. And all it requires is common sense – the common sense to eat seasonally, to know where your food comes from, to support and buy from local farmers and producers who are good stewards of our natural resources….
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– Alice Waters, “In the Green Kitchen