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Renowned chef, restaurateur, and pioneer of California cuisine, Alice Waters will be a guest at the California International Antiquarian Book Fair on Saturday, February 10, where she will appear at California bookseller Ben Kinmont’s booth (#217) for a book signing at 3pm.

Alice WatersThe event is a fundraiser for The Edible Schoolyard, a project to transform the food experience that Waters began in a public middle school in Berkeley, California, in 1995, and which has now grown to serve public schools throughout the United States and abroad. This “edible education” program increases children’s understanding of nutrition, farming, and the preparation of food, and views gastronomy as connected to economics, social justice and climate change. It is also part of a much longer history, from the emergence of soup kitchens during the French Revolution to the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast Program that began in Oakland. In the words of author Michael Pollan:

“To spend time in an Edible Schoolyard is to realize how much more is going on here than teaching kids how to garden or cook....The Edible Schoolyard is an eloquent and practical answer to some of the most pressing questions facing us as a society.”

In recent years, Kinmont has been working to expand the idea of gastronomy to include issues around economic precarity. Realizing that most culinary historians focus on food for the top 1% of the population, Kinmont has “been looking for works that reveal the role of gastronomy in other parts of society. This includes cookbooks for people living in poverty or with a modest income. It also encompasses governmental food policy; experiments in radical food systems; and those eating meals in congregate settings such as schools, prisons, hospitals, ships, and in the military (both during peacetime and wartime).”

This expanded definition is reflected in the books Kinmont will be exhibiting at the Fair. Amongst the 83 books on offer, he includes a recent cookbook from San Quentin Prison’s death row; an early 19th-century manuscript of recipes to feed the poor; a work on feeding wounded and fighting soldiers (1790); a guide to how to survive as a farmer and feed the hungry during the French Revolution by planting potatoes (1795); a manuscript documenting what servants ate (1849-62); and an argument to plant a garden so the poor can grow their own vegetables (1801). (Browse Kinmont’s catalog for the California Book Fair here…)

Fair patrons are invited to booth #217 (Ben Kinmont, Bookseller) on Saturday, February 10 at 3pm to meet Alice Waters and support The Edible Schoolyard. If you cannot make it to the Fair but want to support the program, a donation to The Edible Schoolyard Foundation can be made here.



[PARMENTIER, Antoine Augustin.] Avis sur la culture et les usages des pommes de terre.

[Paris, 1795.] 8vo. Two engraved folding plates. 24 pp. Contemporary block-printed wrappers, 1/4 inch tear to the outer edge of the lower wrapper.

The extremely FIRST & ONLY EDITION of this short work on the principle points of potato cultivation, written by Antoine Augustin Parmentier, the nutritionist responsible for introducing the potato into the French diet. 

Offered by Ben Kinmont, Bookseller at the California Book Fair, booth 217. (Extended description available in Fair catalog here...


California Book Fair

The 56th California International Antiquarian Book Fair takes place in San Francisco, February 9-11, 2024. For more information, visit: