What’s in my garden
Written by Ayesha Khan
One of the most ardent supporters (and as some would argue, the founder) of the organic ‘slow food’ movement, Alice Waters continues to helm her beloved Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, widely regarded as one of the world’s best restaurants.
Alice Waters also founded the now-20-year-old Edible Schoolyard, where students learn to maintain their own school garden, applying concepts of cooking and gardening to subjects like maths and science. Beginning with one middle school in her own community, the Edible Schoolyard now spans a worldwide network of 3,800 offshoots. In her new book, The Art of Simple Food II, Waters offers advice about cooking from home gardens. Here she shares with us five ingredients her own home garden has at all times.
1. I grow all kinds of herbs at my house and I use them in almost everything. I have the standards like parsley, rosemary, sage, basil, and cilantro (coriander) and also some lesser-known herbs that are suited to my climate like chervil, lemon verbena, and lovage.
2. Every garden should have an abundance of greens – both for making a salad and for cooking. Greens are easy to grow, easy to wash and prepare, and go with almost any meal perfect for both a beginner gardener and cook!
3. We have learned at the Edible Schoolyard Project how easily kids can fall in love with the garden. I always grow fruits and vegetables that children can pick and eat right away – things I know they will effortlessly gravitate to like raspberries, strawberries, and peas!
4. If you have the space for fruit trees, it’s so wonderful and useful to have staples for the kitchen like lemons and apples.
5. Flowers for the table. Always!
Alice and her friends opened Chez Panisse in 1971, a neighbourhood bistro serving food with generosity and attention to detail. The menu, which changes every night, is designed to be appropriate to the season and composed to feature the finest sustainably sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients.
“I was 19 years old when I first went to France and discovered the markets there. I loved that people went to the market twice a day and bought from farmers and fishermen nearby – it was those ingredients that inspired my search for our suppliers at Chez Panisse,” she says.