The Alice Waters Backlash

Alice Waters, watch your back. In this month’s Atlantic, writer Caitlin Flanagan attacks the Chez Panisse owner and her Edible Schoolyard project. Waters’ restaurant, she writes, is “an eatery where the right-on, ‘yes we can,’ ACORN-loving, public-option-supporting man or woman of the people can tuck into a nice table d’hôte menu of scallops, guinea hen, and tarte tatin for a modest 95 clams—wine, tax, and oppressively sanctimonious and relentlessly conversation-busting service not included.” Flanagan then takes on the Edible Schoolyard, calling the program “a way of bestowing field work and low expectations on a giant population of students who might become troublesome if they actually got an education.” In response, author and Slow Food USA board member Kurt Michael Friese takes to the blog Civil Eats to call Flanagan’s piece “wrong,” saying the problem with her argument is the writer’s “stubborn refusal to accept that a good idea may have sprouted from an ideology other than her own.” Expect more back in forth in the days ahead.