It is a colourful and turbulent life Alice Waters leads. Thankfully, it is turbulent in the fruitful sense, a process of regeneration and creation so nimbly edited into her autobiography, Coming to My Senses, that it strikes one as being deserving of its titular gerund. It relays the creation of both her ethos and her restaurant, Chez Panisse. Both are realised with great clarity throughout the book: style and substance ring together in both her writing and her aesthetic. Artfully crafted as this carefully curated view of a life is, it also remains humble and warm and satisfyingly alien to what we might now consider to be ‘food writing’. There is no ego here; Waters places importance on seasonality and intuition, regardless of culinary training or tradition. And all without bombast, as she herself asserts: ‘Taste is an incredibly strong sensation – it’s deeper than language.’
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