Alice Waters opened the doors of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, in 1971. Since the first day, seasonal, organic foods have always been on the menu. Today the restaurant is considered one of the best in the U.S. And Alice Waters is known as the mother of the slow food movement. Waters has written 12 books about food. The most recent explores an often overlooked side of cooking: What’s in your pantry. Diane talks with Alice Waters and her daughter, illustrator Fanny Singer, on how she stocks her cupboards and her mission to change the way we think about cooking and eating.


  • Alice Waters Chef and owner, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California
  • Fanny Singer Co-author, "My Pantry"

Featured Recipe: Slow-Roasted Nuts With Sage Leaves

Reprinted from MY PANTRY: HOMEMADE INGREDIENTS THAT MAKE SIMPLE MEALS YOUR OWN. Copyright © 2015 by Alice Waters. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Slow-Roasted Nuts With Sage Leaves

Featured Recipe: Roasted Tomato Sauce

Reprinted from MY PANTRY: HOMEMADE INGREDIENTS THAT MAKE SIMPLE MEALS YOUR OWN. Copyright © 2015 by Alice Waters. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Featured Recipe: Fanny's Superfood Granola

Reprinted from MY PANTRY: HOMEMADE INGREDIENTS THAT MAKE SIMPLE MEALS YOUR OWN. Copyright © 2015 by Alice Waters. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Fanny's Superfood Granola by wamu885


  • 11:06:53

    MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. For Alice Waters, there's nothing more divine than a preserve tomato. It's the kind of ingredient you'd find in her kitchen. In her now book titled "My Pantry," she give us a sneak peek into what she keeps in her cupboards and, of course, provides recipes. Alice Waters joins me in the studio to talk about her new book and long career as a leader in the local food movement.

  • 11:07:25

    MS. DIANE REHMI'm sure many of you are fans of Alice Waters and will want to join us. Call us on 800-433-8850. Send us your email to Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Alice, it's so good to see you again.

  • 11:07:45

    MS. ALICE WATERSI'm delighted to be here.

  • 11:07:46

    REHMOh, and I'm so glad to have you here. And also joining us, surprise, is Fanny Singer. She is daughter of Alice Waters and the co-author of the book, "My Pantry," her absolutely charming pen and ink illustration accompany the recipes. She's an art historian, curator and illustrator based in London and Cornwall. You know, if you go into my pantry, Alice Waters, what you will find, chicken broth, rice, peanut butter, crackers, peanuts, tomato paste and tomatoes. That's about it.

  • 11:08:49

    REHMYour pantry is so much richer than mine.

  • 11:08:55

    WATERSWell, of course, it depends on what you do with those ingredients and I use a lot of tomato paste and sauce and always have that as part of my pantry. And it's being able to cook something at the last minute for yourself or for your friends and to know that you can count on finding something.

  • 11:09:22

    REHMWell, you open the book by saying that coming home from a trip or something, you just walk into your kitchen and look to see what you have. So I gather you do keep it fairly well stocked.

  • 11:09:42

    WATERSWell, I'll always have olive oil and vinegar, good olive oil and good vinegar.

  • 11:09:46

    REHMI do, too. I do, too.

  • 11:09:48

    WATERSI must have that.

  • 11:09:48

    REHMAbsolutely. Yeah.

  • 11:09:51

    WATERSAnd I don't know whether you consider a head of garlic as part of the pantry, but...

  • 11:09:57

    REHMIt is.

  • 11:09:57

    WATERS...I certainly do. I can't live without the garlic.

  • 11:10:01

    REHMAnd a red onion.

  • 11:10:02

    WATERSAnd a red onion. Indeed. And I love the herbs. So I'm -- I think of my little back garden as almost an extension of my pantry because I can go out there and pick some parsley or some oregano, thyme. I've a bay tree. And so it's very important. I count on those ingredients to put together a meal that pleases me and my daughter as well.

  • 11:10:39

    REHMAnd Fanny Singer, it strikes me that this is a perfect book for you to be illustrating. Rather than having big colored photographs, your drawings are absolutely charming.

  • 11:10:59

    MS. FANNY SINGERThank you.

  • 11:11:00

    REHMTell me how your mother persuaded you to get involved in this.

  • 11:11:06

    SINGERWell, it really didn't take much persuasion. We are very, very close and I sort of leapt at the opportunity to collaborate with her on a project. I live in England so, of course, I'll take any excuse to get back to California to spend, you know, vast swaths of time with her. So I was back and forth sort of between and the drawings are really illustrations from her kitchen so they're quite personal in that way, all of the little bowls and things. However idiosyncratic and sort of whimsical the drawings, they are sort of representations of things that we have in our kitchen.

  • 11:11:42

    SINGERAnd my mom would send me photos when I was back in England, but I was also drawing from life when we were there together.

  • 11:11:48

    REHMJust lovely. How do you organize your pantry, Alice Waters?

  • 11:11:56

    WATERSWell, I have most of the jars of canned things -- of, like, tomatoes or peppers or caponata, I keep them on shelves with glass fronts because I love to see things in the pantry. I mean, that -- I don't like to keep opening up the cabinets to try to find what's in there. And it's very --they're very -- I like the colors of beans, the dried beans in jars. I think they always -- giving me ideas as I sort of look over what I have there.

  • 11:12:36

    REHMIt's interesting that some of the recipes in here sort of span the world. They're not just what you'd think of as California. I mean, za'atar, for example, the first spice mixture that you have on your list, tell us about za'atar.

  • 11:13:04

    WATERSWell, I'm very interested in the Middle Eastern spices and always have liked the cooking of Morocco and the cooking of Lebanon. And there's something that -- that mixture of things, you can almost put it on anything. I mean, I've put it on eggs.

  • 11:13:28

    REHMWhat does it have in it?

  • 11:13:30

    WATERSWell, it's got -- Fanny, why don't you read the little list of ingredients there. It's very easy. One other thing that I make all the time is cumin salt. And I just take the cumin seeds and I roast them and it's so aromatic to make it 'cause that smell is coming into your whole kitchen. And then, I pound the cumin seeds in my mortar and pestle and then add salt to that. And that's one of those things that's on my spice tray right next to the stove and I can just always take that...

  • 11:14:13

    REHMAnd Fanny Singer, she's got cumin salt right there, which...

  • 11:14:20

    SINGERCumin salt, quite straight forward. It's just two tablespoons of cumin and one tablespoon of sea salt. You just toast the cumin seeds lightly in a cast iron pan and then when they're cool, grind them together with a bit of salt. But the za'atar, since -- we'll return to that. It does have -- the only sort of esoteric ingredient is the sumac. And it's now, I think, something that you can find quite readily in grocery stores or online, but it otherwise has thyme and sesame seeds in it.

  • 11:14:48

    SINGERThe sumac gives it a bit of a little sour edge and the sesame seeds, which is one of my favorite condiments that kind of go in almost everything in my house and then thyme is that, like, sort of earthy spice, too.

  • 11:15:01

    REHMAbsolutely. Fanny, I have to ask have you inherited your mother's love and practice for cooking?

  • 11:15:13

    SINGERI can't say that I've necessarily inherited her talent, but certainly her love. And I do cook all the time.

  • 11:15:19

    REHMYou do. You cook a fair amount.

  • 11:15:22

    SINGERNot professionally, but at home and always a sort of rotating group of friends coming by for dinner and very much in the way that I grew up, there was always someone dropping by just at that opportune moment to join the table and always, always room at the table for one more.

  • 11:15:38

    REHMI was interested in your recipe here, Alice, for red wine vinegar because most of us don't have a big barrel in which to pour leftover wine, but one can do that on kind of a small scale.

  • 11:16:00

    WATERSIndeed, one can. And I feel very lucky to have that process going all the time because it's very different vinegar that is made from good red wine as opposed something that's really commercially, you know, available. It's difficult to find that really, really tasty vinegar and so I like to make it myself. And I just -- if it comes out a little bit too tart, I mix and match. I put in a little bit of sherry vinegar into it or I might even put a drop or two of balsamic. But I'm just sort of making it to my own taste.

  • 11:16:48

    REHMAnd then, how long are you letting it sit?

  • 11:16:53

    WATERSWell, I do it for about a year. I make it -- because I have a large barrel. It's about 18 inches in diameter and I keep it there in the kitchen and once a year, I decant all the vinegar into bottle and I start anew, leaving a little bit in there as the mother to keep the next one going, but it's been something I've done for a long time.

  • 11:17:25

    REHMAnd so when you're making salad or using any other kind of recipe that calls for vinegar, you have your own. Whereas all of us pedestrian cooks tend to use bottled vinegar.

  • 11:17:48

    WATERSWell, I think there are some good bottled vinegar. There's no question about it. And there are a lot of vinegars that are made from -- and available from wineries and that's when you get the best tasting ones.

  • 11:18:02

    REHMAlice Waters and her daughter Fanny Singer. Alice has written and Fanny has illustrated a new book titled, "My Pantry."

  • 11:20:02

    REHMWelcome back. Alice Waters is with me. She has a brand new, beautifully illustrated book. It's titled, "My Pantry." And her own daughter, Fanny Singer, is the illustrator. She happens to be an artist historian, curator and illustrator based in London in Cornwall. And the illustrations have literally been taken from Alice Waters' kitchen, just beautiful, beautiful drawings and representations of everything from eggplant to rice to fish to fruit to cakes of one sort or another.

  • 11:21:00

    REHMI want to read to you our first email, because I know it's something that you, Alice, are concerned about. She says, I looked at the index of Alice Water's latest cookbook and did not see black rice. I bought some recently, hearing it was nuttier than brown rice and delicious. Does Ms. Waters have a different recipe for black rice that I could try? And are the outstanding taste and nutritional qualities attributed to black rice really true?

  • 11:21:45

    WATERSI wish I could tell you that I had a recipe for black rice. I do not. Although I certainly have had it and mixed it with different colors of rice. And I imagine that it's incredibly nutritious. But I have to say that I don't know.

  • 11:22:07

    REHMHasn't squid been used in the past to create black rice?

  • 11:22:13

    WATERSIt has. I mean, that's -- there is a real black rice grain that I think comes from the East.

  • 11:22:20

    SINGERIt's often called forbidden rice and is used more often in Asian cuisine. So actually I do cook with it quite often. But I often make a sort of coconut rice pudding with it. And so I don't use it so much in savory cooking because I find that it doesn't hold its shape when it's really cooked as well as brown rice does.

  • 11:22:41

    REHMYou mean it gets mushier?

  • 11:22:42

    SINGERIt gets a little bit softer, the grains.

  • 11:22:44

    REHMAh ha.

  • 11:22:45

    SINGERBut it is very nutritious. I can't break down the difference between brown rice and black rice, but...

  • 11:22:49

    REHMYeah. Yeah.

  • 11:22:50

    SINGER...certainly could be, you know, a worthy effort to sub it into some of the brown rice recipes.

  • 11:22:57

    REHMAlice, you're concerned about what's happening with the consumption of grain, not only in this country but elsewhere. Tell us what's happening.

  • 11:23:11

    WATERSWell, we're discovering that a lot of people have really been eating their whole life white...

  • 11:23:22

    REHMWhite rice?

  • 11:23:23

    WATERS...white everything.

  • 11:23:25

    REHMWhite pasta. Yeah.

  • 11:23:26

    WATERSWhite pasta, white bread. And in fact, that is a grain that -- where the really important parts, the germ, has been taken...

  • 11:23:41

    REHMBleached out.

  • 11:23:42

    WATERS...bleached out.

  • 11:23:42


  • 11:23:43

    WATERSAnd when I had, a couple of years ago, very high cholesterol, I called every friend that I knew to tell me what I should do, because I wasn't about to take any medicine for it. I was willing to change my diet. And there was consensus on two things: one, that I should be eating whole grain, and two, that it's very good to drink the fermented tea, particularly the Chinese pu-erh tea, black tea. And so I just changed those two things in my life.

  • 11:24:22


  • 11:24:23

    WATERSBut I have to say, I had a very long prejudice against brown breads and whole grains. Because my mother, who was not a very good cook, made me eat that as a child. And then I went to France and I became a Francophile and I was a baguette eater. And then I went to...

  • 11:24:43

    REHMWhite bread.

  • 11:24:44

    WATERSAnd then I went to Italy and had the greatest pasta imaginable.

  • 11:24:49


  • 11:24:49

    WATERSAnd I was eating white pasta. So this effort I made and the fact that my daughter was very interested in whole grains, brought me into a whole new world of taste. And that's something so beautiful that's going on in this country, is that there are artisan producers of whole grain bread and of pasta, of faro pasta, and of course people who are making delicious corn tortillas. And so I have gone to that place and I've just changed my way of thinking.

  • 11:25:35

    REHMTell me -- oh, and while you've changed your way of thinking, what about your cholesterol?

  • 11:25:42

    WATERSWell, I have to say that it went down 100 points in one year.

  • 11:25:45


  • 11:25:46

    WATERSSo it really made me believe that it was not only important, but very tasty (unintelligible) .

  • 11:25:58

    REHMWhy do you think we moved so far away from whole grains and dark bread? I mean, I can remember eating Wonder Bread as a child and later learning that it was not very healthy.

  • 11:26:22

    SINGERWell it really started, I think, with the industrialization of the process of grinding grain. So when we were using stone grinding techniques, just all of the grain was sort of ground together. You weren't separating that essential part of the grain out of it. And so as the industrial process became more sophisticated and speedier in a way, then it began stripping -- I mean, I can't tell you in great detail, but that is really where we lost touch with a kind of whole grain flour. And as flours became easier to bake in industrial bakeries because the flours were finer and you could produce a more standardized product, which, you know, goes hand in hand with the kind of, like, post-war boom of commercialized product and canned products.

  • 11:27:07

    SINGERAnd then I think people didn't know really better, any better. And there wasn't enough education around what you've lost, to the point that then vitamins were added back into bread or back into (word?) ...

  • 11:27:18


  • 11:27:19 try and compensate for the absence, which is so backwards.

  • 11:27:21

    REHMI'm really, though, fascinated that you were able to lower your cholesterol in such a way doing that. Really remarkable. Your doctor must have been awfully pleased that you could do that without medication.

  • 11:27:41

    WATERSWell, she was very pleased. And I've -- I became religious about drinking tea. I never drank very much coffee but I always loved a cappuccino. And I wasn't prepared to stop that but I just did. And my breakfast has become a cup of this tea and the whole wheat little flatbread that's actually in the pantry book is something that I make very, very easily. It's so easy to make. And in the morning, I make it for a couple of days or even a week of breakfasts. And I take one of the little flatbreads and I heat it up on the burner of the stove and then I spread it with hummus and maybe I'll put a little spice on the top. And I sit down and I have this tea, this kind of Middle-Eastern breakfast. And I love it. And it's just a ritual for me now.

  • 11:28:43

    REHMYou know, we hear so much about the health benefits of green tea. But you're talking about a black tea.

  • 11:28:53

    WATERSI am talking about the pu-erh. It's a fermented tea, which is something else that really interests me, that it has those probiotic qualities about it. I was prepared to not like it. And I was surprised that it's got a kind of smoky flavor that appeals to me in the same way as a kind of an espresso might appeal to someone.

  • 11:29:23

    REHMI don't think of tea as being that, how shall I put it, that somber, that nourishing. And yet people whom I know who do drink green tea have talked about the benefits of that.

  • 11:29:45


  • 11:29:46

    REHMIs the black tea you're talking about available widely, commercially?

  • 11:29:52

    WATERSI think it is now. I know that a lot of people -- I mean, it has many, many other health benefits and those are being advertised. I'm just very religious about buying organic tea -- really, organic ingredients period, no matter what I'm making. And so that's what you have to look for is the tea that's imported by somebody who's credible and reliable.

  • 11:30:29

    REHMYou have a recipe in your book for almond milk. And -- pardon me -- right now, there has been discussion about how much water it takes to create almonds and concern about that extent of water usage. But you use, in this, one cup of raw, organic almonds. Talk about that recipe, Fanny.

  • 11:31:11

    SINGERWell, I think that almond milk really did enter into our household because of me. There was a period where I just cutting back on dairy for health reasons. And so I was looking for an alternative and had had almond milk, I think, that was, you know, in those packets or whatever, those sort of cartons that is pasteurized and sort of shelf stable and thought it was fine. And then someone told me how easy it was to make and it became something that we make quite frequently, but with other nuts as well. And the variations in this recipe suggest hazelnuts or cashews as well. But it is just so delicious and it's as satisfying as a kind of dairy milk, for me anyways, and I think for many.

  • 11:31:57

    SINGERAnd when you make it, it has -- when you make it freshly, it really tastes like kind of green almonds, that way, when you get those fresh almonds every -- in the new season. And that delicious, you know, fragrance sort of carrying through is worth trying for sure. Even though I, of course, like the concern around the drought and the deficit of almonds is very real. And I do think we need to be conscious of that in terms of our buying practices around how often, perhaps, you make almond milk at home, or...

  • 11:32:28

    REHMHow do you make it?

  • 11:32:30

    SINGERYou take about a cup of almonds and you soak them overnight. And that will both make their nutrients more bio-available, but it also makes it so that you can extract the flavor more easily and...

  • 11:32:46

    REHMYou soak them in water.

  • 11:32:48

    SINGERIn water, overnight. And then you drain and rinse them. And then you blend them with about four cups of water and a tiny bit of salt. And then when they're totally pulverized, you strain out the milk through a cheesecloth or a very, very fine mesh strainer, sort of pressing down on the pulp to extract as much of the flavor and creaminess of the milk. And you can sort of change that ratio -- more nuts, less water -- to make a creamier milk. Or a thinner milk will be fewer nuts and more water.

  • 11:33:21

    REHMAnd I gather you like that even better than what you used to get in those little cartons.

  • 11:33:28

    SINGERIt's much, much better.

  • 11:33:29


  • 11:33:29

    SINGERI mean, I would counsel anyone to try it. It's just, you couldn't not love that flavor.

  • 11:33:34

    REHMAlice, I wonder if you're not at all concerned about the turn to prepared foods that can be purchased, even in places like Whole Foods, a store that does use organic foods, that pledges to use organic foods. But there is that sort of rush going on and less time to prepare. Let me just remind you, you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Alice Waters and her daughter Fanny Singer are with me. Let's go back to that question of just buying prepared foods.

  • 11:34:30

    WATERSWell, there certainly is a lot more -- there are a lot more prepared foods available, and organic and sort of locally prepared in the supermarkets. But I have to say that I like to do it myself. I love to do the tomatoes because I can really choose the varietal that I want and I've tasted it for its sweetness and those dry farmed early girls tomatoes just make an incredible tomato comfit that I can and keep for the winter. But, again, I like to go to the farmers market and buy my ingredients from the people who are taking care of the land and who I can meet right there. And they can tell me about what they've done with their canned products, their jarred ingredients. I like that contact and to know who's producing my food.

  • 11:35:48

    REHMAnd, Fanny, what about you? You have your own professional identity, your own busy schedule I'm sure. So how much are you able to do, as your mom does, to choose so carefully, to select and store?

  • 11:36:11

    SINGERWell, I sort of -- I think I'm probably somewhat less a (word?) than she is in that regard. I mean, I do make a lot of things myself and I love to cook. So I mean, for me, it's -- there's a similar thing, a similar ethos in that it gives me great joy to spend that extra amount of time doing something. And often it's not that much more time. I think that's a sort of fallacy that -- this misconception that it's really, it's about putting hours and hours and hours into the kitchen. But, in fact, it might just be 20 more minutes or -- and enjoyable minutes, for me.

  • 11:36:47

    SINGERI do buy prepared foods for, sort of, lunch, if I'm out, if I'm working. And that's something that is, I think, somewhat inevitable to an extent, if you're living in a city and darting from something to somewhere else. But I also think, I mean, you can choose wisely. You can find the people who are making things artisanally, who are doing a really good job, who are really sourcing things correctly and from people that you trust, like my mom was saying.

  • 11:37:13

    REHMDo you like to entertain a lot?

  • 11:37:16

    SINGERI do. I'm hopeless in that regard. I have people over almost every night.

  • 11:37:22


  • 11:37:23

    SINGERBut it's really...

  • 11:37:24

    REHMAnd you like to do the cooking? Or do they participate?

  • 11:37:29

    SINGERIt's -- sometimes it's a joint thing and sometimes I, you know, sort of on my own. But I love having people in my kitchen while I'm cooking.

  • 11:37:36

    REHMFanny Singer, she is here with her mother, Alice Waters. They're talking about a new book titled, "My Pantry."

  • 11:40:02

    REHMAnd welcome back. Our first tweet, from Wayne, says, "The pu'erh tea Ms. Waters loves is from a tree in southwest China and not the tea plant that regular green or black is from." So that's good to know.

  • 11:40:24

    WATERSYeah, it is good to know.

  • 11:40:25

    REHMAnd our email, "Do you think that the organic label is not only being corporatized, but somewhat watered down?"

  • 11:40:41

    WATERSI do feel like people are really trying to confuse people by talking about natural food and food that's local and suggesting that it's organic. But really there is an organic certification, a national one and a local one. And I know our local one is really more serious than the national one.

  • 11:41:17


  • 11:41:17

    WATERSAnd so you really have to know about the certification state by state. But I think that the most important thing is really to know where that farm is and to read about it and to visit it because then you know those people and you know that they're doing the right thing. I'm not just looking for food that's organically produced. I'm looking for food that it is grown by people who really care about the land and the farmworkers that work with them and are not trying to take advantage of the label, but are really doing the right thing.

  • 11:42:02

    REHMAnd in that regard, you and our own Nora Pouillon, who's here in Washington, who's just written her book, as well, are really on the same page with that intent on certification and quality of production, quality of workers. So I think that we here in Washington are very fortunate to have her. Let's go to Jim, who's here in Washington, D.C. You're on the air, Jim.

  • 11:42:44

    JIMDiane, Ms. Waters, tell me, as an environmentalist, why would you be a leader in that movement to open up national parks to food production and commercial operations in that Drakes Bay Oyster case?

  • 11:43:00

    WATERSI think it's a very, very complicated issue. When you have people that have been doing something for a very long period of time and they are trying to produce something that is clean and right, I find it -- it's just a very hard to decision to say you can't do that anymore. It's been your livelihood, it's -- for years and years and years in your family. And I think that we have to really make certain kinds of exceptions. That if people -- for instance, on park land, I really care what's happening on the park lands. And I know that many are being destroyed by the cattle grazing that goes on.

  • 11:44:07

    WATERSI know about that. I know about the concessions that are owned by fast food that are allowed to operate on precious park land in the parks. And yet, this particular circumstance out there on the coast of California is an issue of somebody who doesn't intend to do something that's really poisoning the environment. And it's true, maybe it should not have been allowed in the first place, but it's been there. And I wish I could say this more clearly and definitively, but I can't.

  • 11:44:56

    REHMI think you answered it. Thank you, Alice. Let's go to Margaret, who's in St. Louis, Mo. You're on the air.

  • 11:45:10

    MARGARETThank you, Diane, for taking my call.

  • 11:45:13


  • 11:45:13

    MARGARETI am a joyful participant in a CSA, where a farmer that I know up in Vesterbrook Farms, delivers freshly grown organic vegetables to a fixed location. And I pick it up and I have the joy of cooking with it. And that's a wonderful thing, but now I have a problem because I have an enormous number of eggplants. And I've gone through every eggplant recipe I know. And I just don't know what to do with the remaining eggplants.

  • 11:45:48

    WATERSWell, you know, there is a great program in Berkeley where people who have an overabundance of one crop can swap it with somebody else who's got an overabundance of another. And so it's really a great thing to get to know your neighbor farmers and to make a trade. But…

  • 11:46:07


  • 11:46:08

    WATERS…there's only so much caponata that you can make.

  • 11:46:10

    REHMYeah, I was about to say.

  • 11:46:12

    WATERS…and give away as Christmas presents.

  • 11:46:14

    REHMYeah, I'm trying to think of other recipes. I, rather than salting and putting into a big pan, I tend to put them sliced into the oven, heavily salted, and then use them that way in various recipes. Alice?

  • 11:46:46

    WATERSNo. They're wonderful that way…

  • 11:46:47


  • 11:46:47

    WATERS…roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and salt.

  • 11:46:50


  • 11:46:51

    WATERSThey're wonderful. And also, grilled. You know, over a gentle fire. That's a great way to preserve them, as well.

  • 11:47:00

    REHMAnd, Margaret, one of my favorite dishes is moussaka. So I think you could become very popular with your friends and neighbors if you created an abundance of that and shared it. Thanks for calling. To Shawn, in Augusta, Ky. You're on the air.

  • 11:47:26

    SHAWNYes. My question has to do with the large restaurants. My family has owned a restaurant for 60 years. And I had a restaurant for 25 years here in Augusta. And I love Alice Waters' ideas. The problem is in a large restaurant the consumption of products is so big that it's almost impossible to find enough material, especially in the Midwest and the East where we have a short growing season. And, you know, I realize that you live in the wonderful state of California that has all these fresh things, but what could we do here in the Midwest and the East to provide the best quality items?

  • 11:48:12

    WATERSWell, I think it's important that you really, really follow the seasons. Now, I think it's an illusion that we have in California everything all of the time. In northern California we only have tomatoes for three months out of the year, same with eggplant, all of the summer vegetables. We eat root vegetables all the winter long. We get asparagus a little bit sooner in the spring. We do have outdoor lettuce and some winter greens.

  • 11:48:52

    WATERSBut we use the greenhouse. And I think in cold climates it's terribly important to develop the greenhousing so that you really have salad and herbs all winter long. I know that Eliot Coleman, up there in the north of Maine, greenhouses in the most economical way. And his advice is really worth while reading. But we have to discover, again, the beautiful things that are available in the winter.

  • 11:49:27


  • 11:49:28

    WATERSWell, exactly. I mean, they're all kinds of grains and nuts and dried fruits. And you have, you know, you've kept some of your beautiful syrups from the summer, your mulberry or raspberry syrups that you can use. And I just feel like we have had this, you know, year around idea about food and about second rate food. And we have to get back to eat really in the season and in that moment where it's completely ripe and delicious.

  • 11:50:10

    REHMAlice, have you become a total vegan?

  • 11:50:14

    WATERSI have not. I'm in love with vegetables and fruit. I am in love. I couldn't have a meal without a salad. But I do love to have meat and use it very carefully. It's a beautiful seasoning. And I think we have to be very careful about how much beef we eat, period.

  • 11:50:41

    REHMAnd how about you, Fanny?

  • 11:50:43

    SINGERA very similar answer. I mean, I don't cook meat very often at home. I also -- I grew up quite spoiled. I had my mom cooking on the open fire and the Tuscan grill most nights of the week. And so most of the meat that we had was cooked that way. Just because it was easy and we had this beautiful fireplace in the kitchen and quick. But not having that setup, you know, I make a roasted chicken quite frequently, but eat meat really quite infrequently. And, again, kind of almost more as like a condiment to things, like very small amounts.

  • 11:51:22


  • 11:51:22

    SINGERRather than as a main.

  • 11:51:23

    REHMHere's an email from Clifford in Alton, Ill., who says, "I recently learned about summer cilantro. And I read online that Alice Waters was an early discoverer of the herb, brought seeds back from Mexico and planted it in her garden to use in her Berkeley restaurant. Please tell us how it compares with regular cilantro or coriander, about its use in the kitchen and tips on growing it." First, it is true you brought seeds back from Mexico?

  • 11:52:10

    WATERSI'm afraid it's not true…

  • 11:52:12

    REHMOh, dear.

  • 11:52:12

    WATERS…that I brought those.

  • 11:52:14

    REHMIt was rumor.

  • 11:52:15

    WATERSBut I have been known to bring seeds from all different places around the world. And I do love cilantro as a plant, from the beginning to the end. And we very often use the seeds of the cilantro in making a vinaigrette that you can get -- have the seeds, you can pound them and they're delicious. We make a vinaigrette for fish with that. And I…

  • 11:52:42

    SINGERWhen they're still green, actually.

  • 11:52:44


  • 11:52:44

    SINGERThey're best when -- right when it first goes to seed…

  • 11:52:47


  • 11:52:47

    SINGER…it is when it's best to sort of best to pick the fresh seeds and all the little flowers. And then they use -- the pound -- the fresh seeds have a totally different aroma than when they're dry.

  • 11:52:57

    REHMDo you have your own spice garden, herb garden in London?

  • 11:53:03

    SINGERI'm afraid I do not. But…

  • 11:53:05

    REHMYou do not.

  • 11:53:05

    SINGER…I take very great advantage of my mother's when I'm home.

  • 11:53:09

    REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Let's see, let's go to Takoma Park, Md. Hi, you're on the air, Ester.

  • 11:53:25

    ESTERHi. Thanks a lot. You're a hero to many of us in the sustainable farming field. So thank you very much for being there. I just wanted to add a couple of things. One is that I find myself eating, without realizing it, seasonally. And it's really a wonderful feeling. And I think that more people could enjoy that as well as you said. We have an organic farm for 43 years, in Pennsylvania, just above the border from Maryland.

  • 11:53:54

    ESTERAnd we serve the Adams Morgan and Brookland communities in Washington, D.C. And what we do is we encourage our customers to think like squirrels. And in -- all summer long squirrels are running around gathering food for the winter. And so we suggest during this incredibly abundant time of beautiful fruits and vegetables to learn to can and to freeze and to make sauces and salsas and jams and -- for gifts for people and also for the summer. And I think that we're encouraging people to do that and it's a wonderful way to allow this incredible time of the year to linger longer.

  • 11:54:41

    REHMI think that notion of eating like squirrels makes lots of sense.

  • 11:54:47

    WATERSIt's a beautiful thought. And, in fact, that really is the reason that we wrote this book, is so that it can help you understand how easy it is to do this. I mean, just pickling vegetables, that quick pickle, just cutting up the vegetables differently each time and mixing them and with the salted water and it just has them taste different and you can use them all winter long.

  • 11:55:22

    REHMAlice, when you opened Chez Panisse back in 1972…

  • 11:55:30


  • 11:55:31

    REHM…'71, forgive me, did you ever dream it would gain this kind of worldwide reputation?

  • 11:55:42

    WATERSNever. I thought it was going to be a little place for my friends to have small meals, just a community restaurant where we could just hang out and drink a glass of wine and have a good meal, a little French place.

  • 11:55:57

    REHMHow many people does it now hold?

  • 11:56:02

    WATERSWell, we serve between 400 and 500 people in the café and the downstairs every day that we're open. And probably have close to 120 people who work there, part time and full time and interns that are coming and going.

  • 11:56:22

    REHMAnd how often are you there in the kitchen?

  • 11:56:26

    WATERSI'm not in the kitchen, cooking in the kitchen anymore. And I haven't been for a long time. But I'm in conversation with all of the chefs and I'm eating there whenever I'm home, lunch or dinner or…

  • 11:56:43

    REHMAnd when you're not on book tour. Yes.

  • 11:56:45

    WATERSWhen I'm not out there talking the talk.

  • 11:56:48

    REHMAnd how about you, Fanny? How often are you eating at Chez Panisse?

  • 11:56:55

    SINGEREvery single day when I'm home. So I -- and I've been lucky to be able to go home several times a year. So it's like I will go straight off the airplane directly into the restaurant to eat.

  • 11:57:09

    REHMWell, one day I shall get there and look forward to seeing you both. The book is titled, "My Pantry," by Alice Waters and the beautiful illustrations by her daughter, Fanny Singer. Thank you so much for being here.

  • 11:57:33

    SINGERThank you.

  • 11:57:34

    WATERSWell, thank you. It's been a pleasure.

  • 11:57:35

    REHMAnd thanks all for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.

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