Alice Waters Worries for Wal-Mart Farmers

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Alice Waters ventured into Brooklyn last night to promote her latest tome, In the Green Kitchen, at Boerum Hill's BookCourt. The book is the byproduct of a "Slow Food Nation" event Waters hosted in the Bay Area two years ago and features 50 recipes from chefs like Thomas Keller and David Chang. Waters answered questions from Pig Perfect author Peter Kaminsky, and the crowd of about 100 included Atlanta chef and James Beard semifinalist Scott Peacock. Read on to hear Waters's thoughts on a well-equipped kitchen, this spring's produce, and Wal-Mart's initiative to sell organic food.

Why kitchen equipment isnt necessary for cooking:
"You dont really need anything. All you need is fire and a sharp knife, and not even a sharp knife. I was just recently trying to cook a dinner in February in Berlin. And we were doing it in the hotel room. It was in an apartment, but like a hotel room, with a toy stove. And we were doing a dinner for 75 people. And we cut all the parsley with a butter knife. Of course, we probably destroyed the stove."

What she likes at the Greenmarket:
This last week [at Chez Panisse] we started doing plum-blossom ice cream, which is just amazing with the blossoms, mixed with cream. Im taking my ideas from what they have in the market. And, if they only have eggs and parsnips, then thats what Im making.

How to make locally sourced food available to everyone:
"Go to the schools and feed children for free. Thats what my own stimulus plan would be, since were throwing around $500 billion these days. It would satisfy Obamas agenda since money would be going to green jobs and it would teach children to be environmentalists. They would be counting beans instead of buttons heritage beans."

On Wal-Mart selling organic food:
"I refuse to be an elitist. Its real food, but it is in that fast-food packaging. Its good because it is supporting people who care for the land, but are they paying them the right price? Although [the farmers] are so desperate they probably take whatever they can get for it. We should value food more than clothes, or whatever were spending our money on."