For May, I read Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution by Thomas McNamee.
I had a hard time getting into the book for some reason – I think maybe it would have been more compelling from a first person perspective. It did end up being an fascinating story, though.
Alice Waters wanted to open a restaurant that made you feel as though you were eating over at a friend’s house – they only plan one meal for each night and that’s what they serve to everyone. She wanted it to be a supportive and enjoyable place to work, as well. She was almost always lucky enough that the chef(s) they needed appeared just at the right moment, but they definitely had their ups and downs. She even thought about closing the restaurant a few times.
The book really became exciting for me when it described how they became committed to sourcing all their food from local farmers and suppliers. It makes me want to grow veggies and herbs for a local restaurant! How fun would that be? Alice also started the Edible Schoolyard Project and helped kick off Slow Food USA.
Ultimately, I wasn’t much interested in the recipes included, and the type of food (French-inspired) doesn’t appeal to me, but maybe someday I’ll go out to Chez Panisse and see what it’s all about.
For June, I’ll be reading The Beekeeper’s Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America by Hannah Nordhaus.