We Are What We Eat: A Slow Food Manifesto by Alice Waters

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  • ISBN 10 0525561536
  • ISBN 13 9780525561538
  • Published Jun 01 2021
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 240
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Penguin Press

Publishers Text

When Alice Waters first opened Chez Panisse in 1971, she did so with the intention of feeding people good food, and enabling connection and conversation in a country increasingly seduced by take-out, frozen dinners, and prepackaged ingredients. Customers responded to the locally-sourced produce, to the dishes made entirely by hand, and the welcoming hospitality that infused the small space - human details, which were disappearing from the world at large. Working with her local producers, Waters learned not only how geography and seasonal fluctuations affected the fruits and vegetables on her menu, but about the dangers of pesticides, the fight for fair wages for field workers, and the threats small farms face. As her sense of environmentalism and social justice deepened, Waters came to see how so many of the serious problems we face today are, at their core, connected to food - and the fast food culture we continue to perpetuate, where we value uniformity, cheapness, and availability over uniqueness, fair prices, and seasonality. These fast food values permeate every aspect of our lives, and are changing us and the world we live in. Fortunately, there's an antidote.

In We Are What We Eat, Waters urges us to take up the mantle of slow food culture, the philosophy at the core of her life's work. With practices and customs cultivated over centuries, across the world, slow food culture calls for us to prioritize diversity, conscientious eating, and simplicity. Distilling the lessons she's learned at the helm of Chez Panisse, Waters founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, an organization re-imagining schools from the ground up, integrating slow food values into all aspects of living and learning, in the hopes that these values become second nature. Because we, as humans, are wired for this. We feel the desire for slow food culture every time we smell fresh baking bread, bite into a juicy ripe summer peach, or encounter chickens laying beautiful eggs of all different colors.

From a witness to our country's transition to the frozen foods of the 1950s, from the revolutionary back-to-the-land movements of the 1960s to the fast food reign of the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond, here is a declaration of action against fast food values, and a working theory about what we can do to change the course. As Waters argues, every decision we make about what we put in our mouth affects not only our bodies but the world at large - our families, our communities, and our environment. We have the power to choose what we eat, and we have the potential for individual and global transformation - simply by shifting our relationship to food. All it takes is a taste.

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