Alice Waters: the secret is lettuce

Dateline: Wed 03 Dec 2008

Thanks to my friend Susan Gillie, a food blogger and excellent cook, I was exposed to a little culture last night in the form of Alice Waters, speaking to a packed house at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Waters is the onetime young woman from Berkeley, Calif. (and all that entails) who went to France in the 1960s, where she had her taste buds awakened. Then she went back to the West Coast and opened a now-famous restaurant, Chez Panisse, specializing in fresh local food.

Now she's the grande dame of the slow food movement, which simply means she believes food should be good and "fair" and prepared with loving care.

So where did the tiny Ms. Waters herself dine yesterday in Indy -- a city, she pointed out, where 75 percent of the restaurants are chains?

She ate at the museum's Puck's restaurant, for the sake of convenience, but it was not exactly the experience we'd all wished for her, according to the masterful and friendly Chef Thom England of Ivy Tech College. He was among a group of local chefs and cooks who spent time with her Tuesday.

"She asked the waiter for a road map (after studying the menu) and he could not answer her," explained England. By a road map, England meant Waters always wants to know where food comes from, including meat, etc. Since her entire emphasis is on locally produced food, and she didn't get much satisfaction from Puck's, she ordered a salad.

"She ate lettuce," said England.

It agrees with her. She looks fabulous.

If you want a real education on this subject, check out Susan Gillie's blog

http://indieats.com/

and of course Renee Wilmeth's,who also was at the shindig

http://feedmedrinkme.blogspot.com/

As for my feet, I was wearing knit rubber-soled Uggs, the better to accommodate a pesky bunion and stay upright in icy Indy.

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