After more than 40 years, Chez Panisse remains a defining cultural force, and Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden
adds to the aura. Certainly garden-to-table cooking has been written about many times before, but Alice Waters has an irresistible persuasiveness like no one else and a passion more deeply rooted than most. “There is nothing more transformational than the experience of being in nature,” she writes. “We have been separated from it, but as soon as we dig our hands into the soil and start watching things grow, we fall in love effortlessly—we realize we are a part of nature … [and it] can be awakened in all of us.” The 300-some recipes are beautifully simple and intelligent, and you can practically taste their freshness as you scan the pages.
Gift to go with: Chez Panisse fruit or vegetable notecards by the book’s illustrator, artist Patricia Curtan