Alice Waters

Flavorful, nourishing reading selected by the chef, author, and visionary.



Alice Waters's influence on American cooking is hard to overstate. She opened her now-legendary restaurant Chez Panisse (named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet) in 1971, creating dishes using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients long before sustainability was en vogue. She is the author of a veritable cornucopia of cookbooks, most recently 40 Years of Chez Panisse, which chronicles the history of her signature restaurant and reflects on the deep cultural influence that her philosophy of food has attainted. When we asked her to pick three books, Waters selected a trio of fascinating reads brimming with insights on matters that stretch from the stomach to the soul.


Books by Alice Waters



And the Pursuit of Happiness

By Maira Kalman


"During its original run on the New York Times website, I regularly printed out Maira's illustrated journal and bound it myself. You can imagine how happy I was when it was published with its charming Thanksgiving entry about food and edible education!"





The Man Who Planted Trees

By Jean Giono


"This slim volume was appropriately titled "The Man Who Planted Hope and Grew Happiness" when it was first published in Vogue in 1954 by the wonderful French writer, Jean Giono. More than fifty years later, it is still an uplifting parable for the challenges we face."





The Value of Nothing

By Raj Patel


"I was immediately drawn to the provocative title of Raj Patel's second book. In this world of fast food values, Raj is able to bring us back to our senses with his brilliant discourse."

April 16: ""Blue pottery vases and bowls for flowers are most attractive, and certain blue books...will repeat and emphasize color."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.

Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet

Amara Lakhous delivers a mystery novel with its finger on the hot-button issues of today's Europe.  Immigration and multicultural conflicts erupt in the Italian city of Turin, as journalist Enzo Laganà looks to restore peace to his native burg.

Papers in the Wind

In this insightful novel by Eduardo Sacheri, a young girl left destitute by the death of her soccer-playing father is uplifted by the bold schemes of her uncle, his pals, and one newbie player to the professional leagues.