Since I began reading Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, an authorized biography by Tom McNamee, my mind has been wandering to the French countryside, where she immersed herself in the most expensive foods and wines; went to the marketplace and glorified in fresh foods; through Italy and Turkey where she road-tripped through; and houses in the foothills of the Alps where she met friends for feasts, laughing and cooking surrounded by love. It’s romantic, this book, and her life. She is known as the “mother of American cooking,” a title in which she also started a wave through the nation of locally sourced and organic ingredients in American restaurants, schools, and communities.
In reading just the first few pages, it is hard to not only be enchanted by this woman’s life, but to ignore the blatant similarities I have to her.
In short, she studied abroad in France and became obsessed with food: the kind of food that is freshly caught, or picked; not fast, but naturally grown with purpose; appreciated for it’s odd shapes, for being raw, not genetically modified or mass produced; the art of simple food. When she opened her restaurant, Chez Panisse, she wanted it to be a place where “friends could laugh, argue, flirt, and drink wine for hours on end.” That is what I want. She experimented with food endlessly, and was always surrounded by her friends and family, offering them support in endless ways, and vice versa (quite similarly to my mother). In the quotes of her many friends who were interviewed for the book, they speak of how she could never say no to when it comes to helping people, and her undying friendship.
No matter what she dreamed of, she would make it happen.
“At the table, we are nourished and gladdened, put in touch with the source of life. It is central to both the deepest and the most joyous of human activities: generosity, companionship nourishment, growth.” – Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution by Thomas McNamee.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 bag medium shrimp, defrosted
- 16 oz bowl of Trader Joe’s sliced veggies (cabbage, peppers, carrots, broccoli, celery, etc.)
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 5 green onions/scallions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
- Salt and pepper
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium and add onion, garlic, ginger, and white parts of green onions. Sauté until aromatic, add in shrimp, Sriracha, salt and pepper. When shrimp is pink, add vegetables, vinegar, and soy sauce. Cook until vegetables are tender. Before serving, sprinkle with green onions, Sriracha as desired, and sesame seeds.
This dish is super yummy and perfect for leftover lunches! Also, it helps that it’s colorful and gorgeous!
Another variation of this recipe, which was my initial idea but Trader Joe’s was all out, is using cauliflower rice with the coleslaw.