Coming to My Senses
The long-awaited memoir from cultural icon and culinary standard bearer Alice Waters recalls the circuitous road and tumultuous times leading to the opening of what is arguably America's most influential restaurant.When Alice Waters opened the doors of her "little French restaurant" in Berkeley, California in 1971 at the age of 27, no one ever anticipated the indelible mark it would leave on the culinary landscape--Alice least of all. Fueled in equal parts by naivete and a relentless pursuit of beauty and pure flavor, she turned her passion project into an iconic institution that redefined American cuisine for generations of chefs and food lovers. In Coming to My Senses Alice retraces the events that led her to 1517 Shattuck Avenue and the tumultuous times that emboldened her to find her own voice as a cook when the prevailing food culture was embracing convenience and uniformity. Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the Free Speech Movement and campus unrest, she was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic figures whose views on design, politics, film, and food would ultimately inform the unique culture on which Chez Panisse was founded. Dotted with stories, recipes, photographs, and letters, Coming to My Senses is at once deeply personal and modestly understated, a quietly revealing look at one woman's evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist who effects social and political change on a global level through the common bond of food.

Coming to My Senses Details

TitleComing to My Senses
Author
ReleaseSep 5th, 2017
PublisherClarkson Potter Publishers
ISBN-139780307718280
Rating
GenreFood and Drink, Food, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Foodie, Biography Memoir, Food Writing, Cooking

Coming to My Senses Review

  • Gail
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know why I even requested this book from the library. Generally, I'm interested in people who become chefs and what brought them to that vocation. Years ago, I read many books on fascinating chefs that were well written. This book is not one of them. Alice Waters should just stick to cooking and forget about penning a memoir. I could only get through half before I finally gave up. I found the writing to be juvenile, boring, with tons of name-dropping. It seemed very stilted to me. I coul I don't know why I even requested this book from the library. Generally, I'm interested in people who become chefs and what brought them to that vocation. Years ago, I read many books on fascinating chefs that were well written. This book is not one of them. Alice Waters should just stick to cooking and forget about penning a memoir. I could only get through half before I finally gave up. I found the writing to be juvenile, boring, with tons of name-dropping. It seemed very stilted to me. I couldn't care less about what she did, who her friends were, the people she met along the way, etc. This is definitely not a good piece of literature.
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  • Glenda
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as a goodreads giveaway.Before reading Alice Waters' memoir, I will honestly say I knew very little about this acclaimed restaurateur other than Chez Panisse was ground-breaking and she has been a strong believer of farm-to-table long before it was chic. I loved reading about her adventures in Paris, and how her chance meetings with various artistes and love of fresh French food led her to taking the plunge to opening a restaurant in a very difficult environment. At times sh I received this book as a goodreads giveaway.Before reading Alice Waters' memoir, I will honestly say I knew very little about this acclaimed restaurateur other than Chez Panisse was ground-breaking and she has been a strong believer of farm-to-table long before it was chic. I loved reading about her adventures in Paris, and how her chance meetings with various artistes and love of fresh French food led her to taking the plunge to opening a restaurant in a very difficult environment. At times she was repetitive and certain name drops were completely unnecessary, but overall an entertaining read.
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  • Ruth Glen
    January 1, 1970
    I usually like this kind of book, but her writing did nothing for me.
  • Dana DesJardins
    January 1, 1970
    Alice starts planning to open Chez Panisse literally 80% of the way through the book, and the book ends after the first night. I wish the entire book had been like that last chapter, a description of the food, plates, cooks, and candles in her lovely restaurant. She lived in Berkeley during the 1960s and had some remarkable, enviable adventures traveling around Europe in an Austin Mini, but the verve and vision of her restaurants, cookbooks, and school gardens is disappointingly absent here. Thi Alice starts planning to open Chez Panisse literally 80% of the way through the book, and the book ends after the first night. I wish the entire book had been like that last chapter, a description of the food, plates, cooks, and candles in her lovely restaurant. She lived in Berkeley during the 1960s and had some remarkable, enviable adventures traveling around Europe in an Austin Mini, but the verve and vision of her restaurants, cookbooks, and school gardens is disappointingly absent here. This is to Julia Child's My Life in France what Chez Panisse is to Olive Garden restaurants. But I love her so much I had to give it 3 stars anyway.
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  • Stacey
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked getting to hear how Alice Waters frames her life. How it all led to Chez Panisse. Definitely an inspiration. The writing can get a little bogged down in "and then this happened....and then this happened" but I don't think it takes away from the story I wanted to understand. She also has the tendency to name drop--this is something that seems to happen with people who know other famous people.
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  • Amanda Misiti
    January 1, 1970
    A delightful book that makes the spirit of the sixties and seventies in Berkeley and Europe come alive through her voice. It reminded me that the pursuit of beauty can be a worthwhile quest in its own right. This book makes you want to pick vegetables in a garden, cook them, open up a beautiful bottle of wine and invite your closest friends over for dinner--with a fresh bouquet on the table.
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  • Rhonda Lomazow
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful read behind the scenes look at the young Alice Walters all her friends adventures even special movies that culminated in her opening Chez Panisse & formed her world class restaurant she runs in her own unique way staffed by her special hand chosen group friends staff Coke who become family.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    The writing here starts out somewhat dry but the book gradually unfolds to reveal much of what informed and inspired Alice Waters. I very much enjoyed the insights on someone who has made such a huge contribution to how we cook and eat today.
  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    A gorgeous, deeply satisfying account of the birth of a culinary landmark. I want to read it again while eating at the restaurant.
  • Julie Barnard
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful book! This is the story not only of the life of Alice Waters, but of her restaurant. Read it!
  • Tom Rogan
    January 1, 1970
    Received as a Goodreads giveaway winner...Thank you!
  • Natasha
    January 1, 1970
    A good read but it divert a bit too much of unnecessary details such as the authors favorite movies. The restaurant details really made up for it though.
  • Aria
    January 1, 1970
    ---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---- Sadly, I didn't get through the book. I did my best for 3 or 4 days, and finally conceded that I just wasn't going to make it. I'm at somewhat of a loss as to explain why, though. I kept finding myself growing tired, or catching myself dazed out. I know I was not at all a fan of the way the timelines would jump from her youth to more recent events. It seemed to prevent any coherent tale from forming. I thought I would like th ---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---- Sadly, I didn't get through the book. I did my best for 3 or 4 days, and finally conceded that I just wasn't going to make it. I'm at somewhat of a loss as to explain why, though. I kept finding myself growing tired, or catching myself dazed out. I know I was not at all a fan of the way the timelines would jump from her youth to more recent events. It seemed to prevent any coherent tale from forming. I thought I would like this book, as I had expected that I'd relate to the author. I'm not sure why I didn't. I think nothing ever became "real," as I was reading. The story was never made to be present in my mind; I just wasn't drawn in. I don't even know how to make recommendations for how to fix it. It seems like she had a nice family, and some of the bits related about her youth seemed like they had potential to be interesting if.............something. I don't know. There was no life to what I was able to push myself through. I'm honestly surprised this came off as it did, blander than boiled chicken between white bread. I can't recommend it as is. Perhaps a complete re-write by someone that could inject some flavor into it would salvage the project. Surely there's a story in there worth the paper, if it could be brought to life. I think there must be, but unfortunately it didn't appear in this version. As I couldn't finish the sucker, I won't leave a starred rating. I wouldn't know what to rate it as. I didn't hate it. I had literally no response to it whatsoever...like a flat-line reading experience. I just had to call it and move on.
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  • Patrick Lynch
    January 1, 1970
    Great background on how Alice Waters became "Alice Waters." I found the first third of the book to be slow going, as it's all about her childhood. The book doesn't really come alive until she arrives in France for the first time. Well worth the read, on America's most influential foodie of the last 50 years, someone who changed virtually every restaurant menu and produce aisle in the U.S.
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