Go ask Alice: Eater spotted a from-across-the-pond profile of Alice Waters from Elfreda Pownall at Telegraph.co.uk. Of course, "Elfreda Pownall" is one of those Anglo-queeny drag tags, like Dame Edna Everage or Susan Boyle (we kid, we kid: of course Ms. Pownall is real). Still, drag queen though she isn't, the author does swing a bit pervy when it comes to the toke-and-grope scene that was Chez Panisse in the early 1970s. Like this:
At first laid-back hippydom prevailed at Chez Panisse. Most decisions were collective, staff took time off to 'find' themselves and waiters would occasionally take a toke on a joint in the kitchen, exhaling as they walked through the dining-room's swing door (though in those days many of the customers were in their own drug haze, too). Chez Panisse was a small inward-looking group of friends; there were lots of parties and celebrations, lots of wonderful food and lots of sex.We've been there before, of course, thanks to the very angry Thomas McNamee's 2007 bio of Alice. And, sorry Ms. Pownall, but some of your wording bears a strong resemblance to Mr. McNamee's (Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, hardcover edition, page 54):
It was quite unremarkable for a waiter lofting a tray to suck back a last-minute toke before plunging through the swinging door to the dining room, exhaling as he plunged. It was hardly remarkable to the customers either, many of whom had arrived already ripped to the gills themselves.Oh dear.