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Fanny at Chez Panisse


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About the Author

Alice Waters is the visionary chef and owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. She is the author of four cookbooks, including Chez Panisse Vegetables and Fanny at Chez Panisse. In 1994 she founded the Edible schoolyard at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, a model curriculum that integrates organic gardening into academic classes and into the life of the school; it will soon incorporate a school lunch program in which students will prepare, serve, and share food they grow themselves, augmented by organic dairy products, grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish--all locally and sustainably produced.David Lance Goines is a Berkeley printer and designer whose friendship with Alice Waters goes back more than thirty years. His famous posters, including his annual Chez Panisse birthday posters, are in the permanent Collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Musee des Arts Decoratifs at the Louvre in Paris, the Achenbach Foundation at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.


Fanny is none other than the seven-year-old daughter of Waters, lending her voice here to tell the story of a child's life--her own--at Chez Panisse, her mother's celebrated restaurant in Berkeley, Calif. This device does not quite work; the writing is arch and flat by turns. It's hard to believe, for example, that even the most ingenuous nymph would let slip, ``Chez Panisse means `Panisse's house' in French. Fanny just means Fanny. My mom got both our names from an old French movie. . . . The movies always make my mom laugh and cry. I can make my mom laugh and cry, too, but it's not quite the same.''4 The book contains 46 recipes, all Fanny's: ``Some of them I learned from my mom and my friends and . . . others I've just made up.'' A few are simplistic, like lettuce salad: ``I like salad with lots of different kinds of lettuce. . . . Choose lettuce carefully. Small lettuces are more tender than large overgrown ones. Fresh lettuce looks like it's still growing.'' Garlic mayonnaise seems too complicated for the skills and attention of young children such as Fanny, who would have to add oil to egg yolk `` drop by drop '' and later thin the mixture with several additions of half-teaspoons of warm water.74 The many line drawings are airy and charming. (Oct.)

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