On a list shouting the likes of Christy Turlington Burns, Robert Redford, and the ever luminous Carrie Underwood, food philosopher and Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters landed on TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People list.
In between licking Cool Ranch dust from her fingertips, Waters responded to the news, saying, "Look, just eat whatever you want. You do you." No, not really! But can you imagine? I, for one, cannot. I have been trying (in vain) for years now to get her to divulge her secret favorite junk food. She won't tell me. Probably because Waters simply does not enjoy synthetic, processed treats. (I am, however, interested to know if she wears perfume and, if so, what kind.) Which is good, I guess. Certainly admirable if not enviable. But also odd. Like taking a vow of chastity, or refusing to take part in idle gossip. Noble but out of reach. Speaking of which, Waters did admit to eating Twinkies and/or Gummi Bears once, blaming it on youthful indiscretion. "Oh, I have tried it. I mean, I certainly tried it as a teenager," she told Al Jazeera in a 2013 interview. She also confessed to falling for the siren song of McDonald's. "I was surprised it didn't have taste from my point of view — and, well, I was in and out in five minutes," she explained.
Anyway, Ruth Reichl pens an admirable piece on Waters for TIME, noting: "Alice set out to change that, persuading farmers, foragers and fishermen to raise fresh local food for Chez Panisse. That kick-started the farmers’-market movement and proved that American produce could equal anyone’s. Insisting that good food was a right, not a privilege, she then turned her focus to our children. Alice’s belief that we should teach food in schools was once considered quixotic, but her Edible Schoolyard Project pioneered a national movement. "
Check out the accompanying video below in which she talks more about fast food culture and the need for kids these days to learn about what they eat.