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

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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Linda
    loved! Book ends at the opening of her cafe Chez Panisse. Participated in Free Speech Movement, Berkeley while she tried to make her cafe “perfect”. Lots of picture, very enjoyable.
  • 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...
  • Jessica
    I love Alice Waters and was extremely excited about this book, enough so that I grabbed an ARC months before it came out. And took me forever to finish it. Unfortunately, much of the book was disappointing. The beginning was slow and mostly involved her family and upbringing. The writing felt juvenile and disjointed, and, sorry to say, boring. It finally picked up when she got to Berkeley and began talking more about food which is what ...
  • 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...
  • Mina-Louise
    I really loved this book, and don't understand the harsh reviews. To me this was a wonderful life story, she has really packed a lot of living into her life. From this I learned about ingredients and food and cooking- passion. And about men, and sex and love, and most importantly knowing your own value whether that is not being sad when someone doesn't want you, whether that's a job you don't fit in with, or a man that doesn't see your value. I'm...
  • Karen Whitehead
    A fascinating memoir by a woman who has been at the forefront of eating local for over forty years. She opened her restaurant, Chez Panisse, in 1971 with no experience other than cooking for friends. She never trained as a chef but she learned to appreciate good food during a formative year in France. She was steeped in the counterculture in Berkeley and her memoir is filled with well known names from those turbulent times. Yet she comes across a...
  • 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...
  • Margaret
    I enjoyed this book but towards the end I feel like the narrative lost steam and became repetitive. I enjoyed the beginning and middle where we learn about Alice’s childhood. Learning about her self discovery in college and her love of French food drew me in. This book also made me appreciate how different things are for women these days. There is still sexism but Alice opened a restaurant during a time when female business owners were an anoma...
  • 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'...
  • Hope Sherman
    For anyone who loves food, art and film, loves 60's history and loves travel - especially to France, this will be enjoyable. Having been fortunate enough to have dined at Chez Panisse made this an especially delicious read!
  • Katy
    This is such a lovely book. Waters is a fascinating woman and I loved hearing about her life. The story is not exactly linear but it is a rich and lively one. I want to visit Chez Panisse one day! Also a wonderful addition to my thoughts of the slow food movement.
  • 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...
  • Betsy Freeman
    I'm at odds with myself over this book. I was so excited to get it and start reading it and I vacillated between boredom and happiness while making my way through it. The style is less than conversational. I'm not sure what the editor actually added to this book. Way too many details and far too little cognitive flow. I got through half of the book before I started to hit some interesting parts and thought, "Great, here we go! This is the Alice W...
  • 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.