Alice Waters was featured on 60 Minutes this week. I love Alice Waters.
I thought it was a bit irritating when interviewer, Lesley Stahl, asked Waters why she didn’t have a microwave and asked how she can live without one. She insinuated that it’s unrealistic to ask busy mothers to cook without using a microwave.
First of all, Alice Waters is one of the world’s greatest chefs. Why on earth would she ever use a microwave? Microwaves ruin food — not just in terms of nutrition but they make it taste terrible.
Secondly, plenty of busy mothers around the world do not use microwaves. Myself included.
She also made it seem outrageous that Waters had a wood-burning fireplace in her kitchen. Well, why the hell not? She’s Alice Waters. If you were Alice Waters, wouldn’t you have a wood-burning fireplace in your kitchen?
I also thought it was dumb when Stahl freaked out at the idea of paying $4 per pound for organic grapes at the farmer’s market. Organic produce may be more expensive than “conventional” produce (I hate that term by the way — I’d rather call it pesticide-sprayed produce, which is what it is).
However, processed food is more expensive than organic produce. I haven’t bought Cheetos in years but I just looked up the price on Amazon. A case of Doritos costs $4.99 per pound.
Which would you rather buy?
I don’t think Alice Waters is unrealistic or elitist or any of those things her detractors say. I think she’s a phenomenal chef. The meal I had at Chez Panisse was one of the best I’ve had in my life.
I also think she’s doing a great deal to help build awareness about why we need to support small farms and to go back to the way our grandmothers cooked. She may live in “a different world” but that is a world that we all used to live in — and many of us long to go back to it.