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One garners the distinct impression that there exists a rather large compendium of individuals who owe much to Alice Waters and though she's virtually become an anachronism in her own time, it's precisely because of those people that 'owe' her - that the myth is perpetuated. The disciples or students or whatever may or may not like Ms. Waters personally, but, the fact nevertheless remains that she was the one that gave them their 'shot' at a place in the proverbial sun. To 'dis' her would be, in many cases, tantamount to professional suicide. Though the clan of disciples is reasonably close knit, no one knows just how sincere the other one is with regard to their feelings for Alice. David Lebovitz, for example, talks about being trained at The Chez and how much it was a combination of work and fun. He goes on to describe his relationship with the restaurant's Chief of Sweets, but, he only briefly alludes to Alice other than to reaffirm that she gave him an opportunity when he really had little or no background or training. There's no allusion that the two of them had any sort of personal relationship of substance. I have the impression that most folks would simply like to see Ms. Waters fade away not because of any malice in their hearts - simply Alice came and changed the world and many are tired of repeatedly having to be obsequious and grateful. It's over and done - her 'time', that is - others, of even greater ability and certainly far more ingratiating personalities have picked up the mantle and are carrying the legacy forward. It's just difficult for some to admit that their students have become the teachers, particularly, when those teachers do not have obsessiveness and the need for constant approval as the mainstays of their personalities. Thanks Alice for everything and now it's time for ...........


Grand, Cod.

I agree with the previous commenter: what (or rather, who) is next?

Thomas McNamee

You are a fucking idiot--unable to see past the gentle crediting and soft set-ups. You might just check out about fifty other reviews that managed to understand that my book is very very far from a hagiography. You read, apparently, in a single dimension, while, as it happens, and as you don't seem able to notice, I write in several--at once! You find one sentence that suits your pre-settled "interpretation," and off you go. Let me say it again in case you didn't get it the first time, since you apparently have a hard time understanding English, and I'll put it simply enough for you to understand: You are a fucking idiot.

The Gurgling Cod

If what you say is true, I should really look for a new day job!


Any writer who responds to an interpretation of their work with that kind of angry epithet filled vitriol can't possibly be worth the time it would take to read them.

Food Slut

Thomas McNamee:

You're SO WEAK, dude!


Have a great Rest of the Year! :)


Golly, way to raise the level of discourse, Famous Authorpants.

maybelles mom

alright, nothing proves an authors credentials better than when he counters criticism through cogent counterarguments just like this guy; oh wait, he counterargument wasn't even as elegantly said as a cab driver being cut off. Kind of really points to his skill as a writer?


"A corner cabinet houses thick pottery plates, also of differing but harmonious styles." (McNamee)

That is one stupendously god-awful sentence.


Is it possible that it wasn't really McNamee who wrote that response? I mean, that he would do that boggles the mind to the point I'm wondering if it was a sock puppet.

For me, this is timely because I am about twenty pages away from finishing this book and I just want it to be over. As much as I appreciate Alice Waters' influence on American gastronomy, I'm sick of this hagiography (which is exactly what it is) and all the loving, precious descriptions of Waters and her cooking. "Oh! She doens't even own a can opener! Isn't that awesome?" That stuff is fine for awhile, but she has plenty of critics with plenty of things to say and I can't understand why McNamee didn't think to talk to them. In "The United States of Arugula," David Kamp gets Tom Colicchio to give some cogent, well-thought but not mean-spirited criticism of Waters and I appreciate it. Even Kamp himself is willing to point out Waters' not insubstantial ego when she tales public "blame" (but really credits herself) for now common things like bagged salad greens.

And Waters earned a bit of my own enmity when she gave Julia Child tha backhanded compliment of "Who cares if she didn't know how to cook?" I wanted to backhand Waters myself for that one.

The Gurgling Cod

I did get an email from the account listed as his contact on McNamee's author website alerting me to the comment, so my guess is that it's legit.


Wow. Well, I suppose I'm a fucking idiot too. At least I know not to waste any more of my money on McNamee's books. Why on earth would I want to provide money to an author who holds me in such low esteem?


Wow, for someone who brags about having "studied under the tutelage of Robert Penn Warren," you sure do write pwetty, Mr. McNamee. Did you break your keyboard with your anger? Or just bruise it with your sense of entitlement?


Jeez I never get called names.

Boy there are some stinkers in that book:

“It is in fact a nearly universal principle in Alice’s life that any man who has been her lover will be her friend forever.”—p. 38

“For Jeremiah, this was an opportune moment for a little sabbatical—and a chance to seek out Richard Olney in France. Richard was a culinary saint to him as much as he was to Alice. Perhaps more important, he was just the sort of whimsical, stylish, gay, and alcoholic sybarite Jeremiah adored.”—p. 112


No chance of my getting around to this one, but the excerpts thoughtfully provided above put me in mind of one of my favoritest authors of late, one 'Peggington Noonington' over at Wonkette.


touchy touchy!


To publish (regardless of how many- uh- "dimensions" one writes in) is to put your work out there for interpretation; you can't choose your audience. Those familiar with the experience of being read learn quickly to process criticism. Those unfamiliar with it, well, they tend to get drunk and make asshats of themselves in public forums like this, and this.


Oh right, people. The AUTHOR and CREATOR is the asshole, not the critic. What EVER.

Critics are the fail. At leas the author is communicating. The critic and all his supporters here are just incestuous, self-congratulating idiots supporting something that does not even need to exist. Criticize the world as if there is some standard to appeal to. Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you.

Seriously, dude, go get a real job. Not even a day job; maybe a brothel like the rest of the whores.


ooohwee! hot diggity!

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