How long has this book been at play in your imagination?
About three years, give or take, ever since I worked with my mom on My Pantry. But I think I always felt a book like this might be brewing, especially since the children’s book my mom Alice Waters wrote when I was 8, Fanny at Chez Panisse, in some sense laid the groundwork for this kind of reflection. Even when I was much younger I was aware that I was leading an unusual existence.
Growing up, were you taught to weave food into memory? Do you think that changes the way you remember things and see the world?
Food is powerfully tethered to memory for everyone, I think, hence the notion of the Proustian madeleine. Still, forming the “correct” associations between food and memory — in the sense of developing whole some and nourishing relationships to food in later life — is definitely something my mom cared about establishing with me, and also the reason she is so invested in her Edible Schoolyard Project, where food is quite literally woven into all children’s lessons. The kids who grow food together, cook together, eat together and learn in the garden are predisposed to making choices down the road that revolve around health and nature and conviviality. The same is, of course, true for me and my experience in childhood.
Do you have a favorite dish, or one that particularly resonates with you right now?
Simple green salad, obviously! I obsess over having access to great greens and delicious olive oil and just the right amount of tangy acid in a vinaigrette. I was just in Mexico for 10 days and was starting to go a little crazy due to the absence of salad. I finally caved and bought a massive head of romaine in the market, took it home, doused it in an iodine solution and rolled the dice. My stomach hasn’t been quite right since but it was worth it.
What is something about your mother that fans or devotees may not know or expect?
That she has a great sense of humor and loves to laugh.
Appearing at a Book Passage event at Left Bank Brasserie on Sunday, April 26 at 12:30 p.m.
Local Page Turners
The White Devil’s Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown
Julia Flynn Siler, Vintage, $17.
A remarkable exploration of an overlooked chapter of our history, The White Devil’s Daughters tells the story of the slave trade exploiting Chinese women in 19th-century San Francisco.
Kate Milliken, Scribner, $27
In the dry valleys of Topanga Canyon, California, Rory Ramos works as a ranch hand at her stepfather’s stables, surrounded by horses, a dusty landscape, and the wealthy clientele, including the proud June Fisk and the intriguing Vivian Price.
Real Estate Rescue: How America Leaves Billions Behind in Residential Real Estate and How to Maximize Your Home’s Value
Tracey McLaughlin, Mango Publishing, $22.95
McLaughlin was inspired to write the book after spending years watching buyers and sellers make impulsive decisions based on very limited information.
Michael Genhart and Priscilla Burris, Magination Press, $14.99
Accordionly tells the story of two grandfathers who can’t understand each other’s languages, leading to a lot of silence between them. This book is sure to appeal to young readers.
Reviews by Book Passage Marketing Manager Kayla Beckman.
How to Help During COVID-19
There are so many deserving nonprofits that need your help right now. For more organizations to support, check out the nonprofits here or GoFundMe, where they’re matching donations on Giving Tuesday Now for select charities.
For more from Better:
- You Said It: Members of the Bay Area Community Offer Hope During the Pandemic
- These Bay Area Movie Theaters Are Offering Content to Stream at Home
- Groceries Delivered to At-Risk Families in Marin City: Here’s How You Can Help
Calin Van Paris is a Mill Valley native and the former Assistant Editor of Marin Magazine. Now a regular contributor and Petaluma resident (yay, dairy!), Calin continues to shout her love for Marin from Sonoma County rooftops, while journeying south frequently to feed her Sol Food addiction. Calin also writes about beauty for Vogue.com and gets her kicks from long walks, Point Reyes beaches, good books, traveling, food and friends.