Go Ask Alice

Why Does Alice Waters Inspire So Many Haters?

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It’s not a bad question: Why does such “a polite wisp of a woman” with seemingly pure intentions annoy the living shit out of Bourdain and inspire journalist Caitlin Flanagan to go for the throat in articles like this? The LA Times explores the issue in a lengthy piece titled “She Yanks Their Food Chains” in which Waters gets called everything from a “fierce ideologue” to a “lightning rod for Berkeley liberal elitism.”

Michael Pollan asserts, “She’s staking out a pure position, and every movement needs that.” But what of all the chefs, and home cooks, and food writers who don’t live in California and therefore can’t reap the benefits of glorious local produce all year round? Fierce ideologues don’t have time for such quibbles.

Though it tries to be even-handed, the piece succeeds in reinforcing the notion that Alice can sound like a bit of a world-weary snob, even while eating a hot dog:

Waters herself occasionally chows down on a grass-fed beef hot dog (organic mustard and bun) at Let’s Be Frank in Los Angeles, which is owned by a friend. But she takes a dim view of In-N-Out, though it touts fresh ingredients and hand-cut French fries. “It’s probably better than any other chain,” she said, “but it’s not real or authentic. I’d rather eat from a street vendor in Sicily.”

Oh, Alice. We couldn’t agree more. Let’s meet there next week, yes?

She Yanks Their Food Chains [LA Times]

Why Does Alice Waters Inspire So Many Haters?