Coming to My Senses by Alice Waters

Coming to My Senses

The long-awaited memoir from cultural icon and culinary standard bearer Alice Waters recalls the circuitous road and tumultuous times leading to the opening of what is arguably America's most influential restaurant.When Alice Waters opened the doors of her "little French restaurant" in Berkeley, California in 1971 at the age of 27, no one ever anticipated the indelible mark it would leave on the culinary landscape—Alice least of all. Fueled in ...

Details Coming to My Senses

TitleComing to My Senses
Release DateSep 5th, 2017
PublisherClarkson Potter Publishers
GenreFood and Drink, Food, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Biography Memoir, Cooking

Reviews Coming to My Senses

  • Ally
    I desperately wanted to like this book. I'm a huge fan of Alice Waters, her restaurant Chez Panisse, and the work that she has done with transforming the food culture in American. When the author was growing up, her family ate mostly convenience foods - mashed potato flakes, boxed cake mixes, etc. It wasn't until she spent a year abroad in France that she began to understand about flavor, freshness, and what it means to be thoughtful and intentio...
  • Brandon Gaukel
    I love this woman. This book is exactly what I want to read this week, I started it on a flight from Hawaii and just finished two days later. I swear by her cookbooks, she has changed my life and I got to meet her this year on the flight back from New York City. A GEM.Way to go Alice waters, small groups change the world always.
  • Gail
    I don't know why I even requested this book from the library. Generally, I'm interested in people who become chefs and what brought them to that vocation. Years ago, I read many books on fascinating chefs that were well written. This book is not one of them. Alice Waters should just stick to cooking and forget about penning a memoir. I could only get through half before I finally gave up. I found the writing to be juvenile, boring, with tons of n...
  • Melissa
    Very fascinating but it takes place from her birth to Chez Panisse opening in 1971 (some mentions take place past this time). But it doesn't cover the most interesting parts of her life: running a restaurant for 45 years, her marriage, her daughter, Edible Schoolyard. I was disappointed as the last disc came to a close and this was all glossed over. Maybe one day there will be a part 2.
  • Rebecca Wilkins
    Well it starts with the pitiful photo on the front and doesn't progress much beyond that. Alice is a remarkable woman especially if you watch the PBS special on American Masters but I didn't get it from the book. She skips around and does tell all in regard to drugs and sex but it is all her early life that could have been covered in a couple chapters. There is nothing about her life after the restaurant got successful, her daughter and the edibl...
  • Brittany
    I realllyyyyy wanted this book to be good, because Alice is one of the most import Bay Area icons. The book left me constantly wanting to know more. She glosses over key moments in her life and doesn't really give herself enough credit for what she did in the Bay. It could have used a strong editor or ghost writer.
  • Aria
    ---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---- Sadly, I didn't get through the book. I did my best for 3 or 4 days, and finally conceded that I just wasn't going to make it. I'm at somewhat of a loss as to explain why, though. I kept finding myself growing tired, or catching myself dazed out. I know I was not at all a fan of the way the timelines would jump from her youth to more recent events. It seemed to prevent any coher...
  • Kathy Cowie
    3.5 starsI decided to listen to this book because it is read by Alice Waters. While she cannot really compare to the many wonderful, professionally-trained actors who read audiobooks, I still enjoyed hearing the story from her. She is in her 70s now, I think, and there is something mind-blowing about hearing someone that age talk about how she payed for the building that is now Chez Panisse with the help of parents, friends, and some "un-named do...
  • Glenda
    I received this book as a goodreads giveaway.Before reading Alice Waters' memoir, I will honestly say I knew very little about this acclaimed restaurateur other than Chez Panisse was ground-breaking and she has been a strong believer of farm-to-table long before it was chic. I loved reading about her adventures in Paris, and how her chance meetings with various artistes and love of fresh French food led her to taking the plunge to opening a resta...
  • Anne
    Book club strikes again! I've never been a foodie nor have I ever heard of Chez Panisse (apparently I missed that revolution -the only Alice's restaurant of legend I'm familiar with is Arlo Guthrie's) so, to put it plainly, I was completely uninterested and uninformed going into this. Further, from the complete lack of introduction, I think the author and the publisher assumed every one of us reading this book was aware of the illustrious history...
  • Mikedariano
    I grabbed this because Michael Pollan blurbed the back. Wow Waters is interesting. Sometimes it feels like people become outsized participants of history because they get swept up. It's like a wave the rises and some person, it could be anyone, that's somewhere at sometime becomes larger than life. That's kinda Waters. This book is a collection (a recollection?) of stories from her life. Rather than a singled mindedness to change the world Waters...
  • Helen Yee
    I've only even been familiar with the reputation of Chez Panisse and the reverent tones by which American food journalists wrote about Alice Waters. I've yet to had the chance to visit her restaurant - I'd love to go one day - so this book was an incredible insight into not just the conception of the restaurant, but the life of Waters up until its opening.Waters was so much more lively and funny and honest and self-deprecating than I thought. It'...
  • Cynthia Sillitoe
    I'm not sure how this wound up on my book list (and actually I waited for it) as cooking doesn't interest me. Still, it was an interesting read.
  • KatieSuzanne
    This was great. The audiobook is read by Alice Waters and her voice makes it seem like she's just telling you the story herself in person and not reading a book. The simple stories she tells of her life and all the little experiences that made her who she is, felt like she was explaining the recipe she used to make you a wonderful meal. I don't think it was intentionally written like that, I think it's just how her natural style comes out. Which ...
  • Daniel Palevski
    Simple and honest, I was very taken with Waters' clear and concise writing style as well as her willingness to be open and revealing. Often she criticizes herself has being naive, but this is the part of her I felt most pulled into.I ate at Chez Panisse when I was in Berkeley about a month ago. I ate at the cafe and wasn't entirely blown away with the experience, but it was definitely a nice meal and a nice place to share a meal with friends. Aft...
  • Gina
    I originally came for the food & a memoir of sorts of Alice Waters but, Holy Basil!, I came away completely charmed & impressed by this Francophile woman whose food activism is rooted in simple, seasonal ingredients prepared with utmost care using the most basic & time-tested, tried & true methods. Whether you eat to live or live to eat, we have choices, it can be argued, at every economic level. Sure it can be hard to readily see them due to the...
  • Barbara
    What an interesting person Alice Waters is. She is a dreamer and an explorer. Reading her memoir the reader can see how the idea for creating Chez Panisse had marinated within her for many years. She was inspired by travel, friends, family, film, nature and other subtleties of her life she valued and noticed. In the end, she brought her disciplined imagination to create a restaurant that changed the way America thought about food.
  • Dana DesJardins
    Alice starts planning to open Chez Panisse literally 80% of the way through the book, and the book ends after the first night. I wish the entire book had been like that last chapter, a description of the food, plates, cooks, and candles in her lovely restaurant. She lived in Berkeley during the 1960s and had some remarkable, enviable adventures traveling around Europe in an Austin Mini, but the verve and vision of her restaurants, cookbooks, and ...
  • Ruth Glen
    I usually like this kind of book, but her writing did nothing for me.
  • Vicki
    I wanted her to have more of an ethos than "I studied abroad in France and they're just sooooo much more sophisticated than we are," but you can't make people be what you expect from them. The main takeaway I got from this is that I don't know where the line between the freewheeling "anything goes" mentality of the 60s and a high level of privilege is when it comes to Following Your Dreams (TM). I certainly think it's nice that so many of these p...
  • Onceinabluemoon
    4.5 rounding up because I'm so disappointed to see so many negative reviews, I want this to be extra positive. I totally enjoyed this book, although I have never dined at the restaurant I am very aware of it from my youth, as a native Californian it's been a long time institution. I didn't know she was so "counter culture", I enjoyed reliving the era with her. I listened with whispersynch and I always enjoy when the authors read their own works. ...
  • Caroline
    Did nobody edit this book? The writing is so awful I stopped reading halfway through despite being extremely interested in learning more about Alice Waters’ history.
  • Natalie Park
    I loved learning more about Alice Waters journey and how Chez Panisse came to be. There's such a joy of food and simple pleasures of life, the small things that make life beautiful and pleasurable. I've always wanted to have a meal there and now I can't wait!
  • N
    I knew nearly nothing about Alice Waters before reading this book; but I knew that other food writers whose books I liked (Dan Barber, David Lebovitz, maybe Michael Pollan) had something to do with Chez Panisse at some point in their lives. That's why I picked it up.I read the e-book version. The structure was confusing - several parts were written in italics, and I'm not sure what distinguished them from the non-italics text. Perhaps they were s...
  • Catherine Woodman
    This is a funny book, and when I say funny, I really mean that. It is a little bit comic and a little bit odd. The one thing that it does not come across as is arrogant. She looks back on her youth, her growing up experience, going away to college and becoming more independent, and then her first forays out into the world, all in an attempt to show how she came to be the woman who opened Chez Panisse at the age of 27, without any experience in co...
  • Gretchen
    For me this book was somewhere between a 2 and 2.5 read. Waters can be colloquially engaging at times, and to be honest I enjoy the themes common to almost all food memoirs (the upbringing, the early and then formative experiences of food, etc.). And I did like this structure - a chronological narrative interspersed with offset later but related anecdotes. But so many parts of this fell flat for me, mostly revolving around Waters’ omission of d...
  • Yaaresse
    Going into this, I didn't care one way or the other about Alice Waters besides an idle curiosity about why so many people act like she's some kind of minor deity. It's not like she invented farm-to-table, she just figured out how to market herself as if she did and cultivate a Rolodex of supporters, some of whom had very questionable sources of income, who could and would get her a lot of press. After 20% of this book? Now I just flat-out can't a...
  • Lottie Jensen
    Coming to My Senses, is a sensational autobiography by Alice Waters, one of the most influential chefs ever. I started reading this book without a clue what Chez Panisse or who Alice Waters was. The first two-thirds of the book is just the story of her life, all the interesting things she did as a teenager and a young adult. But then towards the end of the book, she starts getting into how she got into food and cooking. WARNING: this book is full...
  • Marilyn Bader
    Delightfully savory!Having enjoyed Alice Waters’ cookbook, Chez Panisse Vegetables (and made some delicious vegetable entrees from her recipes), I was anxious to read her memoir....... it did not disappoint. She deftly interwove her own childhood and coming of age story into the larger story of opening Chez Panisse—now a classic 47-year old Bay Area restaurant in Berkeley. I learned a lot about the history of French cooking and wines from her...