cover image Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes & Stories

Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes & Stories

Fanny Singer. Knopf, $35 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3251-6

In this wondrous memoir-cookbook hybrid, Singer (My Pantry), daughter of Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters, recalls her upbringing in the restaurant business. Above all, she writes, the book is a celebration of her mother. Waters’s signature passions are highlighted: the Edible Schoolyard Project, open-fire cooking (whether inside the restaurant or the governor’s mansion), and the Chez Panisse children’s book (which featured an eight-year-old Singer). Waters’s quirks are revealed: her tendency to drink from bowls rather than mugs and to “jettison her silverware and delve in with her fingers,” expressing “a primal impulse to be closer to the thing she was eating, to be more sensuously acquainted.” The appreciation of beauty, “the total fabric of my existence,” and flavor, “the prism through which most things were seen or dissected or understood,” guide their summers in Provence, food-and-wine tours of the Pyrenees, and a “special tasting in the caves of Krug, the illustrious champagne house.” A final mother-daughter road trip from Telluride, Colo., to Berkeley before graduate school has them bonding and collaborating on impromptu meals (a recipe for egg fettuccine boiled in river water and tossed with tomatoes and parmesan is one of dozens throughout the book). Singer’s language is read-out-loud luscious, and her culinary coming-of-age story savory and sweet. (Mar.)