HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Alice Waters on Bill Maher

At the risk of starting another Alice-bashing session I wanted to ask a simple question here. I caught Maher's latest show on HBO the other night and he did a one-one-one interview with her. The last Alice topic I was part of here deteriorated into a bashing of her "elitism", so I wanted to see how she came off with Maher.

I suppose she'll take a lot of flack for 'permitting' herself to be introduced as the "Mother of the Slow Food Movement" and for insisting that people of any income and geography (in the US anyway) can eat healthier and more local more than most do. I can understand the part about her not being more humble and giving credit to the true founders of Slow Good, but she IS certainly one of, if not the major force in that movement in the US. So why can't she be cut some slack on that?.

I listened very closely to what she was saying about people basically eating better (if you can reduce her whole campaign to that) and I can't disagree. More vegetables and less meat would do just about everyone some good, wouldn't it? Fruit can get expensive, I get that, but I go to a local growers market and walk out of there with a whole lot of healthy stuff for much less than a 'normal' market visit. I can even do that at our regular market when I steer clear of the processed foods and junk. Even the worst local big-city bodega I've been in has SOME healthier choices.

I guess I just don't understand why Alice Waters can't be taken at her her simplest level............. which I read to be that people CAN do things to improve their health if they really want to. Or.... at least they could do more than they seem to be doing if they were truly committed to it............ no matter what their income or living circumstance. I have kids and I get how difficult it is to get many of them to make healthier choices............ but it's not just an impossibility. I DO wish she's just say it that way................ but I get it, so why can't her detractors?

My 2¢ and I'm stickin' with it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I have no horse in this race, but I thought she came across as out of touch with the reality of most people's financial / circumstancial opportunities for organic foods, growing their own stuff, etc. etc.

    But then the whole show was a love fest -- it was like watching Larry King.

    36 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      Yes. That's the general rip on her............ and my conclusion is that she would be far more effective if she tried to connect her message to the reality of most people's lives. She'd have much more impact if she got specific with ideas as to simple, small, do-able things people could do to improve their diets.

      Unless she really IS elitist (I just don't see why it's necessary to go that far), I have to think she just doesn't want to dilute her message so far that the goal is lost. Too bad, really.

      1. re: Midlife

        Well, it's hard to be perfect. I applaud her for her enthusiasm and conviction. And if people can't look beyond the hippie-dippie hey-wow stuff, their loss.

        1. re: Midlife

          Ms. Waters lost me when she agreed with Maher that no one should ever shop at supermarkets. Out of touch much? And exactly right, midlife, that offering her audience a few doable, simple tips to eating better would have a much bigger impact. But airely exhorting folks to pay more, a lot more for their food (especially in this economy) tells me who her audience really is. Not that I begrudge farmers and farm workers at least a living wage, if not more, but come on! When I had the money, I was happy to pay more for food, and did. Now I don't have the money, so I do watch my pennies.

          BTW, I shop at both supermarkets and farmer's markets, and save money by eating right and well, looking for seasonal specials and avoiding convenience foods. There are entire aisles in my local supermarkets which I quite happily avoid, entire categories of "food" that never see the inside of my kitchen cabinets, no thanks however to Ms. Waters.

          1. re: annabana

            "Ms. Waters lost me when she agreed with Maher that no one should ever shop at supermarkets." That's where Maher lost me. (I believe he said he never shops at supermarkets.) I've seen him at least 3 times at my local supermarket - in the produce section.

            1. re: whatsfordinner

              HA! Well, I'm pleased to report that my state assembly representative shops at my neighborhood co-op. Garrison Keillor shops at Cub Foods.

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                walter mondale is a regular at the NE lund's & is on a first name basis with many members of staff-- they call him "walter." :) his wife apparently hates grocery shopping, so he does all the marketing for the household.

                1. re: soupkitten

                  Bizarrely, even though I seldom shop there, I knew that! My s.o., who has the uncanniest ability to notice celebrities and the like in the most ordinary of settings---bumped into Mr. Vice President there once. I believe he was picking up a Thanksgiving turkey. Glad you mentioned it.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    that's what i like about msp-- when you get right down to it, it's a little town, you just run into folks, & you can talk to them about real stuff (whether the real stuff is international policy, the mississippi river level, or the t-day turkey recipe). hope i'm not getting too ot, but i'd really like to see the co-op memberships of, well lots of folks in media and politics here in town. that would be very interesting! i don't think it would be much of a stretch to not shop at supermarkets at all, here in msp. i know a lot of folks who don't. i think i've been to a rainbow 2-4x/year. i do occasionally go to that lund's because it's very convenient (i used to hate it), but i'm at one of the co-ops pretty much daily and that's where the real groceries come from.

                    i think the general sentiment to avoid big-box, big chain, supermarket type stores as the main source of household groceries has a lot of merit. sure there are places that only have the single big-box option, but that's a problem. (and sure, there are ways to shop well even at a big-box) people who *do* have options need to take advantage of the farmer's market, the co-op, buying farmer direct, etc. and not get complacent about the food they are actually eating-- all the processed, corn-derived, mass-marketed, big-ag groceries in the grocery store. only 2% of americans shop regularly at a farmer's market and that is a problem. americans not knowing what to do with fresh produce is a problem.

                    alice waters is an easy target because she comes across as a snide holier than thou megabitch-- sure, i get that. have not watched this interview.

                    1. re: soupkitten

                      Daveena's experience aside, I don't know if I necessarily think A.W. is snide or a megabitch, and I'm not even sure I think she's holier than thou. I think she's very sincere and passionate, but just a little out of touch with other regions of the country and with people in less fortunate circumstances. I think she wishes we could all live in utopia, and believes that it's possible. I think she's seen a tremendous change in attitudes about food in her lifetime and believes that her own experience proves that one person's commitment and passion can effect real change.

                      The funny thing about MSP is that everyone is expected to cook and go grocery shopping, even famous radio personalities and politicians. This isn't necessarily true in some places. I was listening to the radio awhile back (Lori and Julia one or one those kinds of shows) and one of them--who doesn't cook much but was challenged by one of the hosts to do some cooking--was telling how she went to Sur La Table at France and 50th. She said there was this woman in line ahead of her who seemed to be soaking up a lot of the staff's time. She wasn't rude or even over the top demanding, but the woman seemed to be commanding the staff's full attention. She started to get frustrated and was about to say something snide, when the woman turned around and she realized it was...Lauren Bacall.

                      Now I don't think Ms. Bacall even lives in MSP, but it still struck me as completely amazing that once again, she's expected to do her own shopping for premium cookware or whatever.

                      ~TDQ

          2. re: Midlife

            She'd also be more effective she wasn't such an asshole to anyone not in her circle of Eileen Fisher wearing, rich white Berkeley women.

            I grew up and went to school on the East Coast - I read about Alice Waters and the Edible Schoolyard in college and was absolutely enthralled. At that point, she was a hero to me. Started collecting Chez Panisse cookbooks, did my best to absorb the local/ethical/sustainable mantra. Always had an idea that after med school, I'd get established in the Bay Area, and somehow get involved in the Edible Schoolyard.

            Last year, I was invited to a fundraiser for the Edible Schoolyard, and was thrilled to finally get a chance to meet my idol. I went on a tour of the garden and started chatting with a woman who turned out to be a friend of Alice Waters - she very kindly offered to introduce me, and I jumped at the opportunity.

            After a brief introduction, I mumbled something about how happy I was to finally meet, her, and she physically turned her body away from me so she could talk to her friend. Stung, I slunk away. Needless to say, I did not give the donation I had planned on that day. Nor have I returned to Chez Panisse, Nor have I bought a Chez Panisse cookbook. In fact, looking at her face makes me want to go to KFC and buy a Double-Down for dinner.

            Anyway, I hope this doesn't send the thread down the path you were trying to avoid, but I wanted to give you one example of a person who wholeheartedly buys into the core of AW's teachings, but loathes her as a person.

            1. re: daveena

              I understand your feelings but don't see how that incident has much to do with the validity of her message.

              I have no basis on which to defend her but I don't know how the way she treated you that one time is proof that she would do the same to "anyone not in her circle".
              That type of treatment, if it is what you believe it to be, is inexcusable and certainly backs up the elitist label she's gotten. Again............. too bad!!!

              1. re: Midlife

                It has nothing to do with the validity of her message (I still believe in the value of her core message), but a lot to do with whether or not she can implement it successfully - if she can make me, someone who was more or less a disciple, feel simultaneously condescended to and marginalized, I can understand why so many people react negatively to her.

                Anyway, back to your main point - the thing is, if her attitude was similar to what you posted in your original post - essentially, work with the resources you have to make better, healthier, and more sustainable choices - I don't think she would generate the firestorm of responses that she does. It's more her "purity test" approach towards food, and her being incredibly out of touch with most people's reality.

              2. re: daveena

                I realise midlife and you have already started a thread on this, but I wanted to comment on this immense anger at a perceived slight.

                First, you claim you mumbled. Perhaps she didn't make out that you were speaking to her. Second, I have sympathy for people caught up in these events. Frequently, there are people at every side and onslaught is relentless, whilst others may be asking questions about things that need doing, or a big funder is demanding the kind of attention that a person can't ignore. True, one should strive to be gracious and careful, but it is often possible to let things slip through the cracks. It may have hurt you because this was your idol, but I think a scorched earth policy is a bit much. Refusing to donate to the cause because its spokeswoman did not perform to your satisfaction? I can fully understand why she might pay attention to the bigger donor if that's common where you live. Having nothing to do with anything she's a part of to the point you claim to feel driven to fast food? Wow.

                Personally, I do take issue with her for reasons others have stated above. Forget that supermarkets are cheaper, they are also more convenient and people with jobs do not necessarily have the luxury of multi=-site shopping, especially depending on where they live. I would much rather the smaller suggestions are also offered so as not to alienate people and to encourage entry into a lifestyle rather than make it seem too difficult from the outset.

                1. re: Lizard

                  Nah, it was just one bite of one Double Down (which for the record, is much smaller than I expected, and pretty inedibly salty), not a lifestyle change. I still go to the farmer's market every week.

                  There was no one else claiming her attention at the time - it was just me and her friend, and I spoke directly to her. In any case, I don't think it was wrong for me to expect to be treated as a prospective donor rather than a nuisance. I wasn't expecting an extended personal conversation - even a brief acknowledgement and graceful brush-off would have been welcome.

              3. re: Midlife

                I absolutely believe Alice Waters to be an elitist. In this LA Times piece (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-...), she says of In'n'Out: “it’s not real or authentic. I’d rather eat from a street vendor in Sicily.” I have about 14 problems with that statement, including what seems like her belief that she's unique in preferring to eat in Sicily. She probably thinks only those in her circle could even conceive of such an idea - on the contrary, Sicily just isn't a destination most Americans can afford to get to.

                The article also discusses a dinner she put on in D.C. in February. She insisted on local ingredients - EXCEPT for the "pixie Kishu tangerines from Ojai that Waters adores." Because, you see, everyone must buy local - unless of course you have the good taste to have a favorite boutique produce, and the resources to obtain them. Ugh, she's the worst.

                http://katherinespiers.tumblr.com/pos...

                1. re: Papuli

                  How in the world does that quote seem like she believes she's "unique in preferring to eat in Sicily"? She says she would prefer to eat there. What's unique in that?

                  She is her own worst enemy but I find she really gets more hits than she deserves. In that same Times article she's quoted as saying :

                  "I know I push hard, but I feel that at this moment in time I can't push hard enough," Waters said. "I'm a demanding teacher. I expect the best, and sometimes I don't take the time to help people up the stairs. I just don't have the patience."

                  When she says: "I can't fight the impulse people have to be critical," Waters added. "But I can't do anything other than what I'm doing. I'm definitive, and when you say we need to have it done this way, people feel left out."........... I do have to question how she concludes the reaction is feeling 'left out'? 'Left out' of what?

                  1. re: Midlife

                    "What's unique in that?" - Well, exactly! :)

                    Also, in a discussion of In'n'Out - a fast food chain in the western U.S., bringing up how you prefer Sicilian vendors just seems like bragging. Even if it's not her intent. If you were to say you're really enjoying the tomatoes at your farmers' market lately, and I replied "Oh, I prefer to eat vegetables from gardens that my chef friends grow," wouldn't you think I was pretty snotty? To me, it's the same type of thing.

                    It's all in her delivery. I think that's why people feel "left out"....she says anyone can do it, but her demeanor and anecdotes suggest otherwise. I'm a food nerd and activist myself, and it bums me out that she's sort of a spokesperson for us. I'd rather she wasn't.

                    1. re: Papuli

                      We're gonna have to agree to disagree about some of this. I agree about her demeanor but I think you, among many others, go way overboard in your criticism of specific things she says or does.

                      I don't think it's bragging or elitist at all to say you prefer a Sicilian street vendor to In-n-Out. And......... I understand that the vast majority of Americans (or ANY people in this world) will ever get to Sicily. I'd prefer a beefsteak tomato from my Aunt & Uncle's Jersey farm in the 50's over just about any tomato I've had since. What does that say of me? I prefer Israel falafel, from a vendor in Israel, to those at the Daphne's chain? Am I elitist?

                      I really do get the condescension in a lot of her words and tone. I just happen to think she's a fanatic who's never been convinced that she can't really connect that well with the masses.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        DELETED since everyone else said the same thing but I didn't bother to read the rest of the thread before replying.

                        I believe in the cause, not the messenger.

                      2. re: Papuli

                        Absolutely agreed. Alice always seems to come across as a bit snotty, a bit too self-impressed, a bit too full of airs, as they used to say. There's just something about her that rubs a lot of people wrong....

                      3. re: Midlife

                        In that same Times article she's quoted as saying :

                        "I know I push hard, but I feel that at this moment in time I can't push hard enough," Waters said. "I'm a demanding teacher. I expect the best, and sometimes I don't take the time to help people up the stairs. I just don't have the patience."
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        And without that patience and her seemingly snubbing anyone who doesn't do *exactly* as she expects, her message just becomes babble-speak. She's not "teaching". She's saying it's her way or the highway. She refuses to think that baby steps could even remotely be necessary.

                        Waters says she "can't do anything other than what I'm doing". No, she WON'T do anything other than what she's doing. Big difference. And I think that's a major part of why people react the way they do about her. Including me.

                        There is no bending in her thought pattern about how many people in the U.S. live and work and what is going on in their lives. It's an all or nothing, which seems virtually impossible for 100% of the people in the U.S. to accomplish to her satisfaction.

                      4. re: Papuli

                        <In this LA Times piece (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-...), she says of In'n'Out: “it’s not real or authentic. I’d rather eat from a street vendor in Sicily.” >

                        To me, she is comparing apples with a steak sandwich! What the ???? Most Americans have never been outside the US and haven't a clue what a street vendor in Sicily would serve. If you want people to relate to you, you have to relate to people!

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          And what percentage of New York Times readers do you suppose wouldn't be able to relate to a street vendor in Sicily?

                          I again find myself defending AW. I really do feel she is an unfortunate medium for the spread of a very useful message. It just seems to me that people nitpick her to death. Of course a Sicilian street vendor and In-n-Out are totally different, but the intent of her comment is pretty obvious anyway.

                          1. re: Midlife

                            Why did she say Sicily? They were talking about In-and-Out burger. She couldn't have said some taqueria or cart or diner in LA?

                          2. re: ChefJune

                            "If you want people to relate to you, you have to relate to people!"
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~
                            Ding. We have a winnah.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Amen, amen. "The Medium is the Message". And while there may be merit to Alice's message, the message itself is repeatedly twisted by her iron-fist in a velvet glove approach. She simply does not understand how anybody outside of her circle lives.

                              2. re: ChefJune

                                For what it's worth, Anthony Bourdain agrees with us - even noting the exact same In'n'Out quote, and finding the same thing offensive about it:

                                "There was a recent article talking to her about In- and Out- burger. And she goes, ‘Yeah, it may be good.’ I mean, by fast-food standards, even [‘Fast Food Nation’ author] Eric Schlosser thinks they’re wonderful. So given the opportunity to say something nice about it, she says ‘Well, they’re just not authentic. I’d much rather eat some street food in Sicily.’ Well who wouldn’t?"

                                I like being on Team Tony.

                                (longer quote here: http://katherinespiers.tumblr.com/pos...)

                                1. re: Papuli

                                  I guess my problem with this In N Out quote of hers is that I would completely respect her drawing some kind of line in the sand along the lines of "I do everything I can do to endorse only sustainable operations and therefore, I can't get behind In N Out because they use factory farmed meat" [disclaimer: I have no knowledge of In an Out's meat sourcing practices...] or something along those lines that is consistent with the rest of her message.

                                  But to suddenly inject this new criterion of "authencity" into the equation is really odd.

                                  We've had the "authenticity" debate round and round on chowhound forever and never can come to a consensus about how to define and value it. It just seems like a strange thing for her to suddenly infuse into the discussion.

                                  (P.S. I don't especially love being on Team Tony. I've seen him speak in person and do find him very engaging, but I think he can be a little meanspirited.)

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: Papuli

                                    And Tony summed it all up in the "longer quote":

                                    "She just puts her foot in her mouth in the most egregious ways. She’s very good at preaching to the choir. But unintentionally she ticks off people who would otherwise, I think, agree at least in principle with what she’s talking about. ‘Alice World,’ I want the world to look like that, too. She just says some of the most shockingly insensitive, elitist-sounding, pompous stuff that’s bound to just alienate people. It’s like, if you want the world to look like what Alice wants it to look like, winning hearts and minds, I think she’s her own worst enemy."

                                    I guess I'm more tolerant of her 'foot in mouth syndrome' than most people. I don't know if it's possible but, hopefully, many people don't even get the more subtle stuff she comes out with. The underlying message is too important for me to wish anything else.

                                    1. re: Midlife

                                      You know, if she's a chef who is just being interviewed here and there about her restaurant, about her garden, about her cookbook, it would be one thing. But she's actually trying to influence public policy. Once you start playing in that arena, I think the standards about knowing what your message is and what, exactly, you stand for go up. Which is it? Are you about sustainability or about authenticity?

                                      In that Maher interview she talked about her idea that all school kids should be provided free lunch (or was it free lunch and free breakfast?). Once you start pushing for some kind of public policy change that could potentially cost taxpayers a boatload of money and that's going to affect every single child in America, I think you need to be held accountable for your rhetoric. And I think your logic needs to hold together. And if she can't even preach to the choir effectively, then is she the right person to carry the message to those who don't already agree with her?

                                      And to be honest, I'm not really sure I want Alice Waters--or anyone--telling my child she can't have a hamburger. As it is right now, I'm not sure if Alice's free-lunch program is going to prohibit my child from having a hamburgber, because Alice's position on In N Out is unclear to me. So, if she's going to tell the government what to feed my child for lunch I want to understand--with great clarity, what, exactly, she stands for. While I suspect any lunch A.W. fed my child would be fantastic, I still don't want to be stripped of my right to understand and choose what's best for me and my family.

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        I don't disagree with that at all. Do you want to tell her or should I? :o)

                                        1. re: Midlife

                                          HAHA! You. I think she'll take it better from a hard-core supporter.

                                          The good news is, a lot of people are out there with this message. Michelle Obama, Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters. We even have a chef in Minneapolis whose been doing this for a couple of years. http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/... (To be honest, I'm not sure how this is coming along.) Eventually, hopefully, some positive change will come out of it all. :).

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            And one thing Jamie Oliver does superbly well IS "relate to people." He's compassionate, he's genuine, he's "of the masses" and he will do anything, suffer any insult or indignity, make a total fool of himself--if need be--to help get his message out.

                                2. re: Papuli

                                  <But she takes a dim view of In-N-Out... "It's probably better than any other chain," she said, "but it's not real or authentic.>

                                  This confuses me no end. In-N-Out serves fast food hamburgers. What makes a fast food hamburger unreal and/or inauthentic? It's made from synthetic materials? It takes a long time to cook? Eh, in Waters' defense (and I rarely defend her), her mouth probably got ahead of her brain, in this instance.

                                  1. re: small h

                                    Sicily isn't exactly local to most people, either. Takes a lot of transportation for someone in the U.S. to get there. So isn't eating street food in Sicily sort of the antithesis to her whole POV (unless, of course, you live in Sicily)? In&Out is local to me, however.

                            1. I think she's like a lot of single-minded evangelist types: she takes very strong stands that can seem unreasonable to a general audience. I think the core of her message is worthy, but I'm more bothered by her affect: that ethereal, hippy-dippy quality is kind of grating in anything but small doses. I can see why she's been parodied in that mashup with Bourdain on Twitter.

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              1. Sometimes it's hard to separate the message from the messenger.

                                ~TDQ

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  And where did the pseudo british accent come from that kept slipping in and out? It was like watching Madonna. I really do get her message, but wish she wasn't so supercilious.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    That's posh New Jersey not British. Yes there is such an accent...see former NJ governor Thomas Kean for a full-time practitioner.

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      Aha, like the private school east coast accents I often encountered growing up - gotcha.

                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                      Another "too bad!". The perception of a "pseudo-British accent" where others don't find it is even more revealing of the 'perceiver' than of the subject. I'm on record here as agreeing with the message and wishing Waters could find a better way to deliver it ................ but she really can't catch a break with some people it seems. I didn't pick up British at all either.

                                      1. re: Midlife

                                        I also agree with the message (the overt, organic and fresh food is wonderful part of the message, anyway), but I do perceive a some kind of "accent" or speech pattern when she speaks that seems different from that of most Berkeley'ites'. LulusMom is not alone in noticing that. Someone raised the issue of Waters' accent in that "elitist/bashing" thread you refer to in your OP, too.

                                        I've always wondered where that speech pattern came from. Waters opened Chez Panisse almost 40 years ago--it's amazing (to me) she hasn't completely adopted a Northern California accent after 4 decades.

                                        Anyway, according to wikipedia, Waters was born in NJ, so, maybe buttertart has finally solved this mystery for me.

                                        I wonder if Chez Panisse is going to do some Fortieth Anniversary thing next year?

                                        ~TDQ

                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                        < I really do get her message, but wish she wasn't so supercilious.>

                                        Aaaah, Lulu'sMom! I do believe you've captured the essence of what makes her irritating. Supercilious. I agree with her whole premise, and I don't buy fresh food at supermarkets, but when she looks over her shoulder and heaves that heavy sigh and starts out "Welllllllllll," she turns me Off (with a capital O).

                                        and as for being "the Mother of the Slow Food Movement," well SF started in Italy, and she wasn't there. I don't have a clue who started that notion, but I hope it wasn't her. It is certainly true that her philosophy dovetails quite well with that of Slow Food, but anyone active in the SF movement can tell you it is NOT about necessarily spending a lot on food, or excluding anyone.

                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          Agree with your points - and she was off to receive the Légion d'Honneur, can you imagine what that does for a person's amour-propre?

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            I watched the show and found her altogether dull.

                                    3. So, I just watched the episode. I think it was a bad venue for her. It was painful to watch. He put a lot of words in her mouth (Frosted Flakes, bad. Cheese Whiz, bad. etc.) , and she just conceded rather than clarifying her position.

                                      And she seemed rather startled the first time he dropped an f-bomb (has she seen the show?)

                                      I felt bad for her, actually. He pitched her all softball questions but she still seemed ill at ease.

                                      Why didn't he accept the basket of produce from her? It was so weird that it just sat there.

                                      I do applaud her for drawing the line when he tried to say that McDonald's was okay under certain circumstances, and she really got firm with him. "No, never." Good for her. I agree. I think even a PB sandwich is a better choice than a Quarter Pounder if you're broke, exhausted, and trying to feed your family.

                                      ~TDQ

                                      22 Replies
                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Re your f-bomb comment: One would think that starting out in Free Speech era Berkeley would have inured anyone to that (however having arrived in Berkeley in the early 70's myself with a very bad mouth on me I was surprised at local reaction too).
                                        The mix of interviewer and interviewee was infelicitous. Love Bill Maher but would not want to be interviewed by him myself!

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          "Why didn't he accept the basket of produce from her? It was so weird that it just sat there."
                                          ~~~~~~
                                          i'm pretty sure when she first brought out the basket and he asked her if it was a gift for him to take home, her response was something along the lines of "later"..as though she was planning to use it for illustration or effect first.

                                          and yes, it was funny to see her reaction to his language. she's clearly not a regular viewer :)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            It was also funny to see her flinch when he plopped the plum she had handed him down on the table beside him unceremoniously.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              He just doesn't have the reverence for food that she obviously does, even though, as she pointed out, he's more extreme than she is (in some respects) in that he avoids eating beef.

                                              ~TDQ

                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                  I have the feeling it's a global warming thing for him, not a health-food thing.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    oh. well, my comment was more geared at his rather less-healthy habits. but i guess he sees no contradiction in that at all '-)

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      i've been watching him for years, and though i can't be *certain* about it, based on the things he's said on his show, his choice to avoid beef is partly the environmental issue, and partly the effect it has on the way it makes him feel physically.

                                                      @buttertart - that was funny. i really don't think she had ANY idea what she had [potentially] signed up for by agreeing to go on the show...and this special format was so much calmer and more civilized than usual, i can't imagine how she would have handled a regular episode!

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Maybe have gotten the fantods? vapors? and slid under the desk.

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          I'm trying to imagine her in the green room with Chris Rock and Billy Joe Armstrong.

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            What better two could there have been for that purpose?

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                LOL! i didn't even think about that. oh to be a fly on the wall in that room...

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Especially given Chris Rock's proclivity - mentioned in the interview - to preface the noun form of the word she flinched at with the word "mother".

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      I doubt all three were present at the same time. Since the show wasn't live, I would imagine the three segments were taped separately.

                                                                      1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                        it was still recorded in front of a live audience, so even though the format wasn't his standard round-table debate, the interviews still must have occurred in relatively close succession.

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          Or they could have been done before/after three different shows while the audience was still there.

                                                                          1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                            Philly Ray, you're taking away our fun!

                                                                            1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                              i just buzzed through my DVR recording to check...Bill's hair, jacket, shirt, tie and belt are exactly the same in all three interviews.

                                                                              so there.

                                                                              ;)

                                                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Man, you really think for a minute that Alice Waters would agree to share a green room with anybody else? How incredibly naive...

                                                                    1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                                      Yes, incredibly naive, but I have a heck of a lot of fun in my own mind with these thoughts, I have to say.

                                                    2. I agree she was awkward and couldn't seem to get a rhythm to express herself against Maher's banter.
                                                      She does know how to drop an F-bomb however, not sure when her ears got so delicate.
                                                      She is widely thought of the Mother of the Slow Food Movement in THIS COUNTRY. Not to take anything away from the true founders.

                                                      1. AW's new book "In the Green Kitchen" is supposedly very non-elitist in tone & content.

                                                        http://www.salon.com/food/feature/201...

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                          AW will be appearing at a Book Passage sponsored luncheon in May in the SFBay Area -- we will have a chance to see how un-elitist she will be in real life then.
                                                          http://www.bookpassage.com/

                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                            I hope it's better than Art of Simple Food. I loved reading that book, but didn't love cooking from it as much as I'd hoped.

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              It was a big bowl of no fun, that book.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                I was given it when it came out and haven't ever opened it, to tell the truth. One of these days.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  I gave mine to another chowhound who was interested when it became COTM. I didn't regret it a bit, although poor her ... she probably wished I hadn't bothered!