Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Alice Waters is Frustrating!!

Alice Waters, the founder of Chez Panisse, which is by most measures the most influential restaurant in terms of defining the fresh food cooking movement in our country, is so frustrating as a movement leader.  Others have made this point here and here, but this video from CBS news interview with her is a PERFECT example.  She is so right on that healthy food can be relatively inexpensive and quick to cook.

But she tries to demonstrate the point by going on National Television, cooking a "simple breakfast" for the reporter, and (at about 8:15 minutes into the webcast) cooks an egg in a HAND HAMMERED COPPER COOKING SPOON OVER A FIRE IN A HEARTH BUILT INTO HER KITCHEN.  It couldn't look more absurd. IT COULDN'T LOOK MORE ABSURD!!!!!

Perhaps, dialing back her fantasy/obsession with rustic preparation, she could have simply fried that egg up with a little olive oil in a $10 pan over a stove.  The meal would have tasted 97% as good, and would have been acessible to 99.9% more people who don't have fireplaces built into their kitchens and hand hammered copper cooking spoons.

changing policy on food will require both a cultural shift as well as policy shifts, that in turn rely on lots of people changing their minds about how we do things.  Alice Waters has done an amazing job at pointing the way to better eating.  She really needs to step back and not let herself become the face of the new food movement.

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