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Alice Waters: 'We're Living in Fast Food Nation, Yet We're Sensually Deprived"

"It's astonishing that something so completely simple and right could be so lost," Bay Area celebrity chef says of the joys of gathering fresh foods to share with friends and family.

Hundreds of spectators and visitors poured into the  on Sunday, many drawn by the added cache of celebrity chef Alice Waters.

It was the final day of public tours of the "Idea House," a Blu Homes-built prefab that has been on display since the beginning of August.

The stunning, designer-enhanced property, which will be featured in Sunset's October issue, is on the market for $2.65 million.

"Our biggest day was today, because of Alice," McCalligan said. "I think we had about 700 people here."

Waters, promoting her new book, "In the Green Kitchen," spoke to a packed house via a dialogue with

Asked by Morgan how she came to be a champion for mindful eating and mindful living, Waters said she "never started out to be an activist" when she created her famous restaurant, Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

"I just wanted to eat the way I did when I had lived in France," Waters said.

Since then, Waters said she continues to be surprised how far the American mainstream culture has strayed from the pleasures of simple food, basic recipes and the importance of staying close to nature, family and friends.

"It's astonishing to me that something so completely simple and right could be so lost," she said. "Here we are living in 'fast food nation,' yet we have been sensually deprived."

Waters said she hopes to change that. In her "Edible Schoolyard" project at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley, kids who would never touch kale -- let alone eat it -- are learning to love fresh produce after six weeks of growing their own food and cooking it, she said.

"I really believe that the only way we can change things is if we reach the kids when they are little," she said.

Waters said she also supports projects such as the "Idea House" because the prefabs are made to be ecologically conscious and are more affordable than building a custom home from scratch.

Even though the "Idea House" in Healdsburg carries a hefty pricetag, the basic shell of the Blu Homes prefab about $565,000, not including the land, foundation work, utilities connections or other enhancements.

"I love the idea that you can theoretically buy an affordable house and it has an ecological connection," she said. "I would like, however, to see this one (in Healdsburg) have a completely edible landscape."

Waters said she believes architecture and public spaces can be as uplifting as good food and good company.

"Like the Pantheon in Rome, there's not a person alive who doesn't want to walk through that place," Waters said. "It makes you think the right things."

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Bill Wolff September 11, 2012 at 08:58 PM
$565K with no land, foundation or utilities. Alice, I love Chez Panisse, but these comments are nuts. You live in another world!

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