Regular price: $24.50

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

The long-awaited memoir from cultural icon and culinary standard bearer Alice Waters recalls the circuitous road and tumultuous times leading to the opening of what is arguably America's most influential restaurant.

When Alice Waters opened the doors of her "little French restaurant" in Berkeley, California, in 1971 at the age of 27, no one ever anticipated the indelible mark it would leave on the culinary landscape - Alice least of all. Fueled in equal parts by naiveté and a relentless pursuit of beauty and pure flavor, she turned her passion project into an iconic institution that redefined American cuisine for generations of chefs and food lovers.

In Coming to My Senses, Alice retraces the events that led her to 1517 Shattuck Avenue and the tumultuous times that emboldened her to find her own voice as a cook when the prevailing food culture was embracing convenience and uniformity. Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the free speech movement and campus unrest, she was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic figures whose views on design, politics, film, and food would ultimately inform the unique culture on which Chez Panisse was founded.

Dotted with stories, recipes, and letters, Coming to My Senses is at once deeply personal and modestly understated, a quietly revealing look at one woman's evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist who effects social and political change on a global level through the common bond of food.

©2017 Alice Waters (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[Waters] does an artful job of showing how even the most apparently unrelated experiences helped lead her to her profession. She is also quite frank about her failures; her relationships with lovers, friends, and colleagues; and her pride in remaining a part of the 1960's counterculture that nourished her. An almost charmed restaurant life that exhales the sweet aromas of honesty and self-awareness." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Alice Waters's narration is so approachable that it's as if she walks up to your table wearing an apron, carrying an enticing plate of food, and says, 'Eat this while I tell you my story'.... Another person could have narrated her story, but if that were the case, we would have missed hearing her passion for lighting and lettuce, her fears and excitement, and her gentle laugh." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    63
  • 4 Stars
    41
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    7

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    33
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    8

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    6
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • gail
  • Plainfield, VT, United States
  • 09-24-17

Part of our history

An authentic window on the history of our times written and read by an important participant

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good story!

I real y liked how show is able to transport you to his past and how her story is unconventional.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Sadly, the afterward is the best - and it takes a lot of patience to get there

I really expected to like this audiobook. I have enjoyed using Waters’ cookbook, The Art of Simple Food, and ordinarily I love listening to memoirists telling their own stories. But Waters’ tremulous voice does not make for easy listening. And the few glimpses of real insight into how she came to create the restaurant of her dreams are buried among endlessly boring and seemingly inconsequential personal details. So — forget the memoir. Waters’ skill is not storytelling but choosing, preparing and sharing good food.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not tight & crisp enough.

Alice is a formidable woman who has done so much to capture & refine American cuisine albeit with her Francophile sensibility. Her last book was more enjoyable because it was more thematic, organized, & disciplined. This book was a hot mess. It just careened from place to place in a rambling, repetitive, unorganized, & undisciplined way. There were bursts of interesting ideas & experiences concerning food & Chez Panisse, but they were few & far between long stretches of mind numbing dullness.I doubt she would cook something this muddled. I generally enjoy author narration, but it didn't work here. Too slow, too mumbly, too much emphasis on the wrong syllables or words.I believe it will have to be a hard nosed food journalist who writes the definitive Alice Waters book.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Just not my favorite

Alice values France, men and counter culture but she never got to the real why behind it all.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Authors should NOT narrate their own books!

The WORST narration ever.... it was painful. I had to listen on 1.5 speed to even make it tolerable. Editing in this book is bad too. Lots of redundancy.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • HARRISBURG, NC, United States
  • 11-11-17

Pretentious and disappointing

As a native of Berkeley, being born in 1965 and being a trained professional within the food service industry who has had the pleasure of working with Deborah Madison and Odessa Piper I thought I would enjoy this listen. I could not have been more wrong. Alice Waters’ breathy voice was annoying to listen to. As she tells her story, she comes across as extremely pretentious and unlike able. Many times while listening I felt that if I stuck a dull pencil in my eye it would have been less painful than listening to Ms. Waters read her own book. I could only listen to it in short spans and plan to return it because it was so disappointing. A very, very disappointing listen.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The Life of Alice Waters

Alice Waters narrates her life story from her early life to the eventual opening of her famous restaurant. She takes time to reflect and honor those in her life who have influenced her, and her dream of opening a counter culture restaurant.

This book isn't all what I expected - it was much more a human story than a hero's journey. It was a family story, the kind my parents and grandparents would tell as we worked in the kitchen. In the end I think this was her purpose in writing - a kind of counter-culture biography that cherishes a generation of experience and its influence on food.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I️ had a high level of interest to listen to Ms. Water’s book and must say I️ was disappointed. I️ was hoping for more depth on how she built her place in the history of American cuisine and what I️ heard was mostly pretentiousness with the exception of a little self-deprecation as she told the story of Chef Paul Prudhomme (a true giant in American cuisine) and his team bailing her out at an event. An ongoing retelling of insubstantial stories filled with name-dropping foreign filmmakers she’s met and the steady line of men from whom she adopted a point of view because she seemed to have none of her own over the years. Even her stated hatred of fast food provided little backup for her point of view and how she’d propose the world should behave differently. I️ suppose all of this is what it is. After all, it is HER life story to tell. I️ went from being intrigued by her reputation in the food world to feeling like she was an unwitting observer of the politics and food scene of the times who may not have earned the reputation.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

VERY REPITIVE

Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of Alice Waters. Love her cook books and her food sensibilities. This book could have been told in half the time. Her story is interesting but she doesn't follow a chronological order, and the narration is repetitive in content. I wish I would not have wasted a credit.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful