Sunday, August 30, 2009

The middle one

Hi:  I am Margi the 41 year old, in between the 12 and 72 (?) year old.  When people ask me why I can cook with such happiness and ease, I tell them that I grew up in the kitchen and my mom was a cooking teacher.  In my NYC apartment I have a picture of her in her Martha Logan uniform with a hunk of lamb in front of her and some cheese puffs on sticks.  (she now purports to being a vegetarian who seems to always be cooking and eating pork.  hrm.  Although that sounds annoying, our family gets lots of mileage laughing about it.)  Okay... for my first Alice Waters memory:  for my 16th birthday my parents took me and my best friend at the time to Chez Panisse for dinner.  It was an exquisite experience that blew my mind.  I don't remember what we ate, but I do remember reporting to my friends that they could have served me poop and made it delectable.  Is a 16 year old supposed to be done with potty talk?  Ever since that dinner, I have had an awareness of Alice Waters.  And I am ready to roll.  (drum roll.....) and our first recipe is.......? 

Nana's Introduction

"Who is Alice Waters," asks my granddaughter? Although I don't know anything about her personal life, she is my idyll, not because she has a famous restaurant or because she has written many cookbooks, but because of her values and goals. Ms. Waters would like to have every school child understand where food comes from, how it is grown, and how to cook it correctly, and thus enjoy eating it. I appreciate her goal of having gardens used as classrooms and nutritious food served in every school in our country. She is a tireless promoter of those programs and is working with the Obama administration to make them a reality.

About 10 years ago I heard Alice speak at a conference for environmental grantmakers, and I saw her at a party at SFMOMA. She admired my hat (she likes to wear them); I was so flattered that I packed it in a box the next day and sent it to her. She sent a sweet note on Chez Panisse stationery in response. I was thrilled!

So onward with our learning from her and cooking. She (through Simple Food) just taught me what to do with potatoes that have green spots: compost them! Nana

P. S. The photo above was taken on July 29, 2009, the day after Bastille Day, when we ate a delicious dinner at Chez Panisse. I was amused to see the garlic decor on the front of the restaurant, but knew that on the 28th, the diners enjoyed garlic in every course as a tribute to the French.

Friday, August 28, 2009

An introduction

When I am doing any thing I find the best way to start is an introduction, so hear it goes.

Jackie. Mother, Grandmother
Margi. Daughter, Aunt
Anna. Granddaughter, Niece

One thing we all love. To Cook.

Many people love to cook. Some people like it because it is calming or relaxing. Some do it because they simply love food. But we (I think) all love it because it is something you can do that is creative and also just really fun. So when our family gets together some of us watch sports, some of us swim, some of us chat it up and some of us cook.

As I am writing, a new copy of The Art of Simple Foods is sitting write next to me waiting to be opened and looked through, torn and worn. It’s waiting to be one of those cookbooks that you saved in you cabinet full of notes and doodles that you have made 30 years ago.
But of course its not. So as I am staring at the cover I wonder who is Alice Waters? Yes I know she is a cook but what was she famous for? What is she doing now? So as I dive into this cookbook and look at all the wonderful and not so wonderful recipes I will learn a lot along with my aunt and Nana.