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Mar 15, 2009 04:44 PM

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

Watching it now...

Edit: How much did you want to try that egg cooked in the fireplace over the crispy toast with ripe tomatoes?!

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  1. Bless your heart! *I* still have time to TiVo it. Thanks, k-e.

    1. Shoot! Looks like it's on NOW here in CA! What's that all about?

      2 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        No problem--you can watch the clip up above. :)

        1. re: kattyeyes

          It's on later also but maybe I'll just watch the clip. Not sure I'm up to Bernanke on the weekend. Enough babble M-F !

      2. I adore Alice, but, golly, I'd like to see her eat from her garden year-round here in Minnesota without ever eating food that has been frozen. I'm not trying to be disrespectful of all of her accomplishments, but seriously, she seems to live in a bubble.

        The ground has been frozen here since November and won't thaw until mid-April at earliest. If we're not allowed to freeze our food to over-winter, what does she recommend we do? Even the apples and winter squash and potatoes are way way way past their prime by now, March. 5-6 months a year, the ground is frozen! Nothing grows. Not tomatoes, not broccoli, not kale.

        She seems to have no idea that not every part of the country is as temperate as Berkeley, California. She's not elitest; she's West Coastist.


        26 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          P.S. That breakfast looked amazing. What I wouldn't give to have Alice cook me a meal like that!


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            A dear, very devout Christian friend of mine loaned me the book, The Shack. It was a sweet book but more than anything I kept thinking that I wished God would come and cook for ME. Maybe She'd bring AW along to assist.

            1. re: c oliver

              Wow. I've never heard of that book, but it has almost 3000 reviews on Amazon, and it was only issued in July 2008. It must have quite the following. And God does the cooking, eh?


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I wouldn't buy it but it was a sweet story (fiction) about a man who spends the weekend with God the father (who actually is a large, Black woman, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God was the cook. Imagine knowing you'd never have any culinary failures :)

                1. re: c oliver

                  The book is well worth reading. Maybe check it out at your library? It is by no means just for devout Christians.

                  1. re: bayoucook

                    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that. When I said I wouldn't buy it, it's because I rarely buy fiction and use the library. And, yes, it's got a nice lesson. But the on-topic point I was making was wouldn't it be cool to have God do the cooking :)

                    1. re: bayoucook

                      It's weird that The Shack is mentioned here today. I had several good friends in for lunch today and two of them talked about this book, The Shack. Apparently the author intended 12 copies to be printed for family but others heard about it and it has sold many thousands of books subsequently. I guess I should invistagate this further although my first inclination was to dismiss it as another Da Vinci Code.

                      1. re: Gio

                        I'm betting millions of books since Costco has it! It's a sweet book with a moral. A small book so not a big investment in time. I only mentioned it because I thought how cool it would be for God to be a large, Black woman who cooks. Invite me over please!

              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                I can't find the breakfast video. Where is it?

              3. re: The Dairy Queen

                Her comment about nike sneakers pretty much erased whatever respect I had for here.

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Half of me adores Alice Waters, not least for the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook, which is awesome . The other half of me wants to slap her upside the head. There's such a Marie Antoinette let-them-eat-cake (or, you know, 100% organic produce) air about her. Yes, it would be delightful if we lived in a world where little children spent their days cultivating garden patches in rich composted soil. But we don't. It's cool to be idealistic; it's much less cool to willfully ignore reality and pretend that the reason everyone can't have what you have is that we aren't trying hard enough.

                  1. re: small h

                    Wow, I've TiVo'd this and will watch during dinner! She's clearly a hot button for a lot of people.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I look forward to reading your reaction. I'm mindful that cheerleading has merit, but so does practicality.

                    2. re: small h

                      <it's much less cool to willfully ignore reality and pretend that the reason everyone can't have what you have is that we aren't trying hard enough.>

                      Well, a large part of the reason everyone doesn't have that IS that we haven't tried hard enough in the past. School gardens ARE, in fact, cropping up all across the country, and at least SOME kids in cities like Newark, NJ, are getting in touch with their "Inner Gardener" with great success.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        I agree that it is noble to try, and I applaud the success Alice Waters has had. And we can go around and around this point until the cows come home. But Waters would do much better to work with individual communities and help them make the best of what they have. Instead, she issues grand pronouncements and tries to force everyone to conform to her tiny, fixed, unattainable model of fresh! organic! slow food! perfection.

                        Shelter is also a basic need. If someone were to gallivant about the country encouraging people to build their own houses because those houses would be sturdier and more energy efficient, or whatever, we would call said person a crackpot.

                      2. re: small h

                        small h - I hope you're not seriously denigrating Alice Waters for her natural, local ingredients agenda. I know she has a matter-of-fact air about what she does, but a "do as much as you can as often as you can" understanding would seem totally appropriate....... does she really need to qualify the message with "I know it's freezing in Minnesota".

                        She began the Edilbe Schoolyard concept in 1995 and I can't find a way to criticize it on any level...... except that it may make some folks want to go out of their way to duplicate it.

                        I'm sorry, and don't take this personally or too literally, but should anyone have smacked Jesus upside the head for preaching things that are difficult for all to achieve? I'm not making an equation to Alice Waters here, just sayin' the fact that only the few can actually pull it off doesn't mean the many shouldn't try.

                        1. re: Midlife

                          If you read my post(s), you'll see that I'm hardly denigrating Alice Waters for her natural, local ingredients agenda. I'm denigrating her for pretending it's easy as pie for all and sundry to achieve. And yes, she DOES need to qualify the message, or risk coming across as elitist and out of touch.

                          If you are determined to draw a parallel between Alice Waters & Jesus, you can start by noticing that while we can all love our neighbors, it's a little silly to expect us to also walk on water.

                          1. re: small h

                            I don't insist on the comparison, it just seemed like a reasonable way of making a point. I probably haven't read or seen Alice enough to say this (or I would presume so from your position) but I've never thought she pretends her agenda is easy or that reasonably intelligent people would find her to be suggesting anything other than an ideal. Does she have to actually say "doing this as much as you can is better than not doing it at all"?

                            I'm really not trying to be argumentative about this, and I'd probably only get a 3 or 4 on her scale of 10 myself, but I don't hold it against her that she sets the bar high. I've never felt like she's talking down to mere mortals or anything like that. I can't really afford dinner at Chez Panisse these days but it's fun to think about.

                            1. re: Midlife

                              When you consider what Waters advocates in the abstract, it seems eminently reasonable. But when you actually watch her (and you should absolutely look at the 60 Minutes segment, if you haven't already) you'll see a woman who isn't merely setting the bar high. She's setting it exactly at the level she herself is at, and acting dumbfounded that everyone else can't - or won't - just get on up there, too.

                              1. re: small h

                                Funny. I did watch the 60 minutes segment and didn't get that impression. I guess we just disagree on this.

                                I do recall Leslie Stahl beginning with a statement to the effect that being with Waters is to be "in another world", but I took that to be a positive. What foodie could have watched her make eggs in her own wood-fired oven and NOT want to be able to do that? I may have to go into my profile and change my "I wish I could....." statement.

                                1. re: Midlife

                                  Ahem!! See roxlet's post below for context.

                          2. re: Midlife

                            AW may have developed the concept of the "Edible Schoolyard," but the idea wasn't entirely new. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY in the 50's, and waaaaay in the back part of our huge concrete schoolyard was an unpaved section that was turned into a vegetable garden every spring. We'd buy seeds from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for a penny or two a packet, start the seeds indoors, and plant them outside when the weather warmed up. We'd carry heavy watering cans out to the garden from the school building to water our plants. The problem was that by the time school let out at the end of June, the plants were just starting to grow. So kids like myself, who lived close enough to school, would often carry water from home to the schoolyard during summer vacation. Every now and then we'd even be lucky enough to "harvest" our small-yielding crops.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                              You don't appear to already have a horse in this race so you get a pass here. This topic has been mostly about whether AW deserves credit, for what, and how much. Neither AW, nor 60 minutes, nor I, suggested that "Edible Schoolyard" was the first of it's kind. It's a wonderful thing to do, no matter who does it, where, or when.

                              One local High School, here in super-suburban OC, California, still has an Agriscience program and a Future Farmer's Chapter........ just a few miles from the world of The Real Housewives of Orange County. They're issueing provisional pink slips to teachers here in CA, but kids can still learn about corn and goats.

                              I grew up in Little Neck and we weren't as lucky as you were in Brooklyn. I had to go to my Aunt and Uncle's farm in South Jersey to get my first taste of real tomatoes, but only because my Mom chose roses over fruits and veggies.

                              1. re: Midlife

                                I never meant to make less of AW's program or her contribution to the kids, families and communities that benefit from it. My point was that even in a (literally) concrete environment, city kids have been learning about the joys of gardening for a long time.

                      3. Had the show on, went outside to watch the shuttle launch.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Veggo

                          How cool must that be to see live! I'd have done the same if I were in your neck o'the woods.

                        2. she has great ideas, but is completely disconnected from average citizens who cannot afford $4-pound grapes or any of the other high-end organic meats and produce AS WELL AS two pairs of Nikes... she bothered me more than I expected, even though I respect the basis of her "movement"

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: aklein

                            I just heard the grape comment myself - ouch! But having a campfire in my kitchen is perfectly normal :) While I do agree with the basis of many of her ideas, she definitely seems a bit out of touch.

                            1. re: enbell

                              As much as I'd like to dismiss her as a Berkeley flower child, especially as I look at the winter-scorched ruins of my own garden, I think her ideas really make sense. Our culture has moved away from food as a center of pleasure and family time and substituted TV and other distractions instead. We've got a lot to learn from so-called "developing nations" in that respect. Alice has the right ideas, but perhaps needs to be a little less doctrinaire--I enjoyed some frozen peas just today!

                              1. re: newhavener07

                                I concur. I am at a loss however as to how to put her premise into practice given the current economic situation. Your thoughts/ideas?

                                1. re: newhavener07

                                  TDQ's comment from Minnesota resonates a lot farther south than many would think.
                                  Berkeley is blessed to have the Japan Current off shore that, along with the mountains to the east, keeps her area all but frost free.
                                  Friends in Tennessee lost their winter greens patch to an early freeze in November and in spite of attempts to replant, have lost the subsequent replantings to temps approaching zero F. We are almost the same degrees north of the equator as Berkeley, but the vagaries of climate are not so kind to us.
                                  Root vegetables, root cellars and a patch of greens along with lots of salted pork would be getting really old by now, but eggs would be beginning again.
                                  (Dandylion greens and chickweed are not all that great, FWIW.)

                                  1. re: shallots

                                    Dandelion and chickweed are great. They just must be picked young and used correctly...... I love Alice Waters. Yes her ideas are not truly attainable in full for everyone,. but she makes us strive for change.

                                    1. re: shallots

                                      Along those lines, if you've read the Barbara Kingsolver book "Animal Vegetable Miracle", you get the idea that they were mightily sick of frozen and root veggies around this time of year too!

                                      I think AW is overly harsh on frozen veggies as they DO retain their nutrients better than "fresh" unless they were picked in the last hour. I believe she is absolutely correct that we've marginalized food and eating to a commodity--buy cheap, eat fast. There are some huge issues here that tie in to factory farming and subsidized crappy food that she is touching on, but her manner is offputting and I can see why people think she is too "California-y".