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."

July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).