Zen Center, Alice, Cheryl Alters Jameson discussed on Talk 1260 KTRC Programming
Everybody, you are back with you. Eating it up. I'm Cheryl Alters Jameson. Thanks for coming along with us today and we're talking food Adventures with Deborah Madison and her life in vegetables. Her new book is an onion in my pocket. It's a beautiful and charming and frank memoir, and you need it. Go get it, Find it and are collected Works or Garcia Street or order it from wherever you get books, But get it. It's something you should definitely read. And one of the things I want to get in. We're going to go back and talk a little bit more about, you know things like greens and shape a niece. But one of the real points of the book is nourishment. And I want to make sure we have time to talk about that a little bit. Because if he were saying when we're off air, nobody gets to that part because we all run out of time. So I wanted to start our segment. Our last segment with that idea. Can you talk to that a little bit, please for e. I want to try. I've always felt a little uncomfortable with the vegetarian label because I'm not a vegetarian unnecessarily. But I had to find out what really mattered this food and what mattered to me was how food was prepared or shared. And if it came with Plainness with generosity with care with attention. Then I remember those meals and it didn't matter at all. What was on the plane and so the last chapters about that kind of food, and and this just stories about menus and meals I've had Work that really stood out. Uh huh. And you know, I do like that in terms of the spirit of generosity about the food and that we remember moments. I mean, it's yes, it's important. What's on the plate and all of that, all of us who are, you know, so tied to the culinary universe. But it is that spirit and that generosity and all of that that I think, Yeah, that does matter s O much in the end, so I appreciate you. Getting that in in the book and in our talk about it, too. So, um, s o back. We're talking about greens on how you ended up being chef there because that was a project, I guess. Was that the Abbott or you're organizing Committee of the SIM Center. I don't know what they were called. Exactly that decided You should have a restaurant. The Zen center should have a restaurant who decided that there was no organizing committee. But there was a board. Okay. And, uh, I don't know how I'll happened. But I just found myself in that position and and and going to bed every night feeling like I had a mountain on my chest and waking up in the morning. It was still there. Well, not only was the restaurant new I mean and again, this is just so wild to think back at the time. But I mean Fort Mason. I mean, that had been a government entity and all the sudden it became, you know, an area right for private development. And just to put a restaurant in that space because we're talking, You know, they're with a stunning views out over the water and everything. I mean, this was so again visionary. At the time to, you know, put that there and to make a restaurant that was in this beautiful setting, And that was open to everybody to come. But that was being run by the Zen center. It was just really such a unusual idea and something that you know again. She was like, Oh, yeah, of course I would do something like that today, But we're talking, You know, a full generation ago, and it was unusual on s all of sudden. You found yourself. Without a huge having a big, big restaurant. And, uh, yeah, people paying to come this time It was crazy. It was really hard. I mean, I was stuck on the idea of maybe maybe a 10 seat restaurant, tiny little intimate thing. This was huge as you said, And you know the idea that we would chop garlic, you know, by hand or whatever it was Quickly, you know, gone. It wasn't like a 10 Person Cafe or even being in the they represent center with your folks coming in for dinner? No, we had 300. People at a time sometimes come in. In the very beginning. 250 people was usually what we served for lunch. Uh huh. And again, you're bringing in the general public, So I know it was a big concern to you to have, um, you know, something that felt like a satisfactory meal again something at the center of the plate. That was very I added cheese, all kinds of things where it didn't happen to be our wasn't needed, really. And since that I've taken it out, but because I was nervous. I didn't want people to go away hungry. And feeling that they hadn't been fed s. Oh, it was a little bit dicey. You know our first well, you did such a great job of it. And I just remember eating there at the time and just being, you know, blown away by the generosity of the food and the spirit of it and the Oh, the bread you did, like it wasn't the for gossip. Love. Yes. Yeah. And you pull it apart of the table, and, uh, yeah. Careful stuff. Yeah, it was from Yeah, we probably should at least give homage for your time at Chez Panisse. Since that is a legendary restaurant and Alice Waters, obviously a legendary figure in our culinary universe, and she had come to the garden originally, That's how you met her that I'm right. Yeah, she had come to gringo and the Abbot said, Why don't you show her and Lindsey shere around? But I did, And they were kind of mind. Especially Alice was iron. Let us and asking questions. And she was. She really wanted this food that we were growing from the restaurant. And then I started to ask them questions. And And this And finally she said, haven't you ever been, And I said no, I've never been. I never even heard of shape in these Really? I mean, I barely had heard of it. She said. Well, you must come bring a friend and come tomorrow night. So we did. We borrowed a car We went and it was this was the food that I always had wanted Teat. And cook, you know, and I recognized it immediately and and I went to work there. She she invited me to work there and I did for On and off for about 10 years. Oh, and it was again such a seminal time and Alice brought together such an amazing group of people yourself included, But Lindsay shares the pastry chef, and, oh, people that Santa fans know David Tanis and Mark Miller and forced through the kitchen at that time, folks, you just need to read the story..