I have been talking nonstop about the symbolism of an edible landscape at the White House. I think it says everything about stewardship of the land and about the nourishment of a nation.

In countries around the world, people spend more money on food because they know how precious it is.

The fact that most kids aren't eating at home with their families any more really means they are eating elsewhere. They are eating out there in fast food nation.

I can't imagine leaving the restaurant. It's hard for me to separate my life from my work; I'm really thinking about what we're doing every day.

I'm always changing my work, as there are endless ways to think about food.

We all need to know how to cook. I can buy a chicken and have many meals come from it. Is it affordable? Yes. Cheap? No. I want to pay the farmers the right price for food. They deserve it. They are the most important people in the country besides our teachers.

Food can be very transformational, and it can be more than just about a dish. That's what happened to me when I first went to France. I fell in love. And if you fall in love, well, then everything is easy.

I love those tiny little onions in the spring that are so small they're almost like a little chive.

In Berkeley, we built the garden and a kitchen classroom. We've been working on it for 12 years. We've learned a lot from it. If kids grow it and cook it, they eat it.

I used to think that I wanted to be a hat maker, but I don't think that would have worked out.

My mother made a lot of things because she thought they'd be healthy for us. There were some very unfortunate experiences with whole wheat bread and bananas. I always tried to get rid of that sandwich and eat one of my friends' lunches.

We've been so disconnected agriculturally and culturally from food. We spend more time on dieting than on cooking.

The problem with living in a fast-food nation is that we expect food to be cheap.

I am an optimist of the first order.

I once had an Early Girl tomato at my friend Jay's house, and I thought that was the best thing I'd ever had. But then I visited friends in Senegal, and I ate sea urchin pulled fresh out of the sea. It tasted like the ocean.

Hard-boiled eggs are wonderful when they're really done right. I bring the water to a boil, and then I put in the eggs. And then I boil them for - well, it depends on the size of the egg - maybe eight minutes.

People have become aware that way that we've been eating is making us sick.

I think America's food culture is embedded in fast-food culture. And the real question that we have is: How are we going to teach slow-food values in a fast-food world? Of course, it's very, very difficult to do, especially when children have grown up eating fast food and the values that go with that.

You do need some dispensation for local farmers, because the fast food industry will promote the unsanitary conditions of farming. With vegetables, you have to be careful where they come from; you have to know the farmers and trust them. If you buy from the farmers' market, it's already been investigated.

If we want children to learn to tend the land and nourish themselves and have conversations at the table, we need to communicate with them in ways that are positive.

This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.

I just hope Americans come to understand that food isn't something to be manipulated by our teeth and shoved down our gullet, that it's our spiritual and physical nourishment and important to our well-being as a nation.

Food culture is like listening to the Beatles - it's international, it's very positive, it's inventive and creative.

I think if you buy from people who are taking care of the land, you're supporting the future of this country.

A whole set of values comes with fast food: Everything should be fast, cheap and easy; there's always more where that came from; there are no seasons; you shouldn't be paid very much for preparing food. It's uniformity and a lack of connection.

I am disappointed because nobody is talking about food and agriculture. They're talking about the diets of children, but they're talking about Band-Aids. We're not seeing a vision.

My kitchen has a wood-burning oven, a large worktable, and windows all around, including one above the sink. I think whoever is washing the dishes needs to have a lot of beauty around.

I have a fireplace in my kitchen that I light every night, no matter what.

If I've gone to the market on Saturday, and I go another time on Tuesday, then I'm really prepared. I can cook a little piece of fish; I can wilt some greens with garlic; I can slice tomatoes and put a little olive oil on. It's effortless.

The act of eating is very political. You buy from the right people, you support the right network of farmers and suppliers who care about the land and what they put in the food.

Create a garden; bring children to farms for field trips. I think it's important that parents and teachers get together to do one or two things they can accomplish well - a teaching garden, connecting with farms nearby, weave food into the curriculum.

It's so important to that we go into the public schools and we feed all of the kids something that is really good for them.

Americans don't have deep gastronomic roots. They wanted to get away from the cultures of Europe or wherever they came from. We stirred up that melting pot pretty quickly.

I guess I don't really believe in retirement. I believe in shorter days and maybe in weekends!

I was a very picky eater.

I know once people get connected to real food, they never change back.

I'm an optimist. I'm hopeful.

Buy foods from nearby farms and have that food served in the cafeteria.

The way we subsidize food makes it cheaper to go to McDonald's and get a hamburger than a salad, and that's insane. It's pure government policy.

My real emphasis is on the farmers who are taking care of the land, the farmers who are really thinking about our nourishment.

I don't think it ever works to tell people what they can't eat. They can do it for so long, and then they fall off. You have to bring them into a new relationship with food.