For some time a few of the blogs I read on a regular basis have been doing this 50 Women Game Changers challenge started by Mary from One Perfect Bite after the May 2011 article in Gourmet. I've been wanting to join in the fun, but have been full of excuses. This year my goal is to do it my self! Even though the rest are all the way up to #32 and I'm starting at the bringing I'm still excited.The second woman on the list, Alice Waters, was unknown to me. Even though I was born and raised in California. I should have known who this lovely lady was, but I did not. So, I took myself to the library and checked out two books The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook and Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution by Thomas McNamee.
Over the past two years I have been experiencing a change in my view of food. I have for quite awhile now abhorred eating fast-food, but I really couldn't put into words as to why. And from time to time I would still eat at places like Taco Bell and KFC, even though I haven't eaten at places like McDonalds since high school. Alice says "Depersonalizatied, assembly-line fast food may be 'convenient' and 'time-saving,' but it deprives the senses and denies true nourishment" (pg 3 The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook).
Last year I started to pay attention to fresh ingredients and combining them for new and interesting flavors. Alice's philosophy on food speaks to my new sensibilities. Though I am just finding Alice I am grateful to have been exposed to such a wonderful woman.
"My style of cooking involves combining ingredients that harmonize because of their quality freshness, aroma, and flavor." (pg 5 The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook).
Though I am still learning and have many mistakes ahead of me in my cooking journey. Alice says "A good cook needs only to have positive feelings about food in general, and about the pleasures of eating and cooking." (pg 5 The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook). This makes me hopeful.
For my first foray into the world of Alice Waters I choose to make a bread.
Marion's Cornmeal Graham Bread
(The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook pg 235)
- 1 package of dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups buttermilk, slightly warmed
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups graham flour
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a large bowl.
- Stir to dissolve and let stand for several minutes.
- Add the butter, buttermilk, salt, sugar, and the graham flour.
- Beat vigorously for a minute
- Add enough of the all-purpose flour to make the dough come away from the side of the bowl and collect around the spoon
- Add the cornmeal and stir to blend.
- turn the dough onto a lightly floured board.
- Knead for a minute or two.
- Let rest for 10 minutes
- Adding just enough flour so that the dough is not sticky
- Resume kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Put the dough in a large greased bowl, cover and let rise until double in bulk.
- Punch down and shape into two loaves.
- Place in greased loaf pans, cover, and let rise to the top of the pans.
- Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until done.
- Remove from pans and cool on racks.