WHOLEFOOD CUISINE NEWSLETTER
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Larry and I are housesitting in a remote area of Norther California called “The Lost Coast” because it is so rugged they couldn’t build a highway here.
Having settled in late in the day on Saturday, on Sunday we went into Garberville to find out what was available for supplies.
There are half a dozen restaurants in Garberville, but at that moment on a Sunday, in the year of covid, only one was open. And it turned out to be the perfect restaurant for us, of course.
Back in 1995, a restaurant opened in Yountville, California called The French Laundry. Yountville is a very small town in the Napa Valley, about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco when there is no traffic. It’s on the now famous Highway 29 that is miles of vineyards that make some of the most highly regarded wines in the world. Visitors come from all over the world to this region for the wine and the food.
At the time The French Laundry opened, I lived in Marin County, California, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I was very interested in food, so of course, I heard about it. I immediately wanted to go eat there. But I couldn’t get a table. They were booked a year in advance.
The closest I could get to The French Laundry was to get the massive coffee table cookbook, which Larry gave me one year for my birthday.
Years went by and I didn’t think about it any more.
And then it was my birthday last week.
I want to introduce you to Alice Waters because she has had the greatest influence on my culinary viewpoint and still influences me anew today. I will be sharing with you many things I have learned from Alice through her books and eating at Chez Panisse, and from experiencing the food of others in the San Francisco Bay Area who have also been influenced by her. I would say that more than anyone else of our time, the food we eat today and the food available to us today has been shaped by Alice Waters.
In 1971, Alice, age 27, opened her restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. She had no culinary training or restaurant experience. Like me, Alice grew up on industrial food products of the time, like Wonder Bread and Wishbone salad dressing. And then as a young woman, she went to France, and her life (and mine) changed forever.