Last summer, by absolute luck, I scored a last-minute reservation at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Cafe in Berkley, California. It was during the height of the busy graduation season, and the chances of booking a table on the day of the request was highly unlikely. But it happened, and I was ushered into the cafe to a table near the window and proceeded to order nearly everything on the menu. Now, I've always been a fan of Alice Waters, but after that meal, I finally got what she was about. Every ingredient felt like the purest, most potent form of itself. Afterward, I enthusiastically delved into her cookbooks and discovered that with some careful choices, it was possible to achieve something similar at home.