Holiday Cookbook Roundup

Gift Guide

Holiday Cookbook Roundup

The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution

by Alice Waters
Clarkson Potter, 405 pp., $35

I have tremendous respect for Alice Waters' many accomplishments and her undeniable contributions to American gastronomy. I've never been a big fan of her Chez Panisse cookbooks, however, because it didn't seem possible to re-create Chez Panisse dishes at home in Central Texas without Waters' luxurious Northern California larder from which to cook. Waters' newest cookbook seems designed to address that very issue. The Art of Simple Food is a basic primer written specifically for home cooks. Along with her well-documented philosophies about the importance of family dining, gardening, and support for sustainable agriculture, the author presents fundamental cooking practices and basic foundation recipes that are designed to make the most of quality ingredients. Waters offers recipes for essential sauces, suggestions and variations for basic salads, techniques for building robust flavors in soups, methods for making the most of rice dishes, fresh fruit desserts, and simple, mouthwatering entrées. This book obviously comes directly from Waters' heart – her supportive, encouraging tone could convince even the most apprehensive novice cooks that they have the potential to prepare delicious family meals. This would make a great "first cookbook" gift as well as a welcome addition to an established cookbook collection.

The Best of Austin: Restaurants ballot is here! Nominations can be made now through Monday, August 22, at midnight. Vote now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle