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Slow Food: The Case for Taste

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Overview

Take a breath.... Read slowly.

How often in the course and crush of our daily lives do we afford ourselves moments to truly relish-to truly be present in-the act of preparing and eating food? There For most of us, our enjoyment of food has fallen victim to the frenetic pace of our lives and to our increasing estrangement, in a complex commercial economy, from the natural processes by which food is grown and produced. Packaged, artificial, and unhealthful, fast food is only the most dramatic example of the degradation of food in our lives, and of the deeper threats to our cultural, political, and environmental well-being.

In 1986, Carlo Petrini decided to resist the steady march of fast food and all that it represents when he organized a protest against the building of a McDonald's near the Spanish Steps in Rome. Armed with bowls of penne, Petrini and his supporters spawned a phenomenon. Three years later Petrini founded the International Slow Food Movement, renouncing not only fast food but also the overall pace of the "fast life." Issuing a manifesto, the Movement called for the safeguarding of local economies, the preservation of indigenous gastronomic traditions, and the creation of a new kind of ecologically aware consumerism committed to sustainability. On a practical level, it advocates a return to traditional recipes, locally grown foods and wines, and eating as a social event. Today, with a magazine, Web site, and over 75,000 followers organized into local "convivia," or chapters, Slow Food is poised to revolutionize the way Americans shop for groceries, prepare and consume their meals, and think about food.

Slow Food not only recalls the origins, first steps, and international expansion of the movement from the perspective of its founder, it is also a powerful expression of the organization's goal of engendering social reform through the transformation of our attitudes about food and eating. As Newsweek described it, the Slow Food movement has now become the basis for an alternative to the American rat race, the inspiration for "a kinder and gentler capitalism."

Linger a while then, with the story of what Alice Waters in her Foreword calls "this Delicious Revolution," and rediscover the pleasures of the good life.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

In These Times - Mark Winne
"Petrini—an Italian whose charming prose ripples with gustatory rapture and thrasonical outbursts—pleads with us to slow down"
San Diego Tribune - Maria C. Hunt
If eating is such an intimate, internal process, shouldn't we take the utmost care in selecting everything we consume? Petrini makes persuasive arguments for doing just that.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Carlin Romano
Petrini writes with a seasoned eye for telling detail, and a willingness to provide shocking sweets for his presumed anti-globalization readership...At 155 pages, Slow Food may tempt you to race through it, eager to get to the appendices with mouthwatering examples of products to die for...and descriptions of exotic delicacies from around the world. The 'Slow Read' movement advises you to take your time.
In These Times
Petrini—an Italian whose charming prose ripples with gustatory rapture and thrasonical outbursts—pleads with us to slow down

— Mark Winne

Mario Batali
I always felt like Groucho Marx, who said he would never join a club that'd have him as a member, but Slow Food is far more spiritual, nay, religious, than any club (or religion, for that matter) I have been asked to join. Count me in. Carlo Petrini's Slow Food out-Prousts Proust, out-LaRousses LaRousse and out-Artusis Artusi and makes sense for the dreamers and doers of our times.
Robert Mondavi
Everyone who enjoys quality time with fine wines and food should enjoy this book.
San Diego Tribune
If eating is such an intimate, internal process, shouldn't we take the utmost care in selecting everything we consume? Petrini makes persuasive arguments for doing just that.

— Maria C. Hunt

Philadelphia Inquirer
Petrini writes with a seasoned eye for telling detail, and a willingness to provide shocking sweets for his presumed anti-globalization readership...At 155 pages, Slow Food may tempt you to race through it, eager to get to the appendices with mouthwatering examples of products to die for...and descriptions of exotic delicacies from around the world. The 'Slow Read' movement advises you to take your time.

— Carlin Romano

Bell'Italia Magazine
Petrini tells the story of the movement's origins and successes in Slow Food: The Case for Taste... The book also outlines the philosophy behind good eating.
Publishers Weekly
Slow Food, a group of 75,000 members that supports recognition of traditional foods and eating patterns (e.g., the family meal), is an important player in today's battle for the palates and stomachs of the world. As "The Official Slow Food Manifesto" states, "Slow Food is an idea that needs plenty of qualified supporters," but to find them, it's going to need more friendly material than this didactic screed. Italian journalist Petrini founded the group in 1989, changing the name of a previous organization from Arcigola to Arcigola Slow Food in response to the opening of a McDonald's in Rome's Piazza di Spagna, a development described in excruciating detail. Petrini's condescending tone ("When you see the word `flavorings' on the package, don't imagine that it always refers to natural substances") isn't helped by a clumsy translation that adheres to Italian syntax. It's a shame, because the elitist tone and convoluted language obscure Petrini's informed opinions on genetically modified organisms and nutritional education in the schools (he references mainly Italian public schools). Petrini's case against McDonald's is perhaps his strongest card, but it's geared mainly to an Italian, or at least European, audience (it's doubtful that many American parents comfort themselves with the thought that "when they're old enough the kids will develop a taste for Barolo") and more thorough and better written arguments have already been made, most notably in Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Neither a cookbook nor a foodie memoir, Slow Food is nevertheless an important work. Its closest recent companion would be Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, but instead of further condemning the fast-food industry, this book extols regional food traditions and ingredients and other elements of the slow-food movement. Started in 1989 by Italian food writer Petrini as a reaction to the fast-food lifestyle that was threatening to homogenize Italian culinary traditions, the movement has spread to more than 40 countries. Petrini's book is both a philosophical treatise and a history of the movement all in one slim volume, yet it suffices. Slow Food will help the reader better understand why so many cookbooks and chefs promote local and seasonal produce. Petrini, too, promotes quality, locally produced ingredients in the service of taste, and taste as a key to pleasure. More important, however, he recognizes the cultural and environmental impact of the food heritage that he strives to preserve. Appendixes noting the movement's Italian and international foodstuffs provide an interesting closing note. Recommended for serious culinary collections in public and academic libraries.-Peter Hepburn, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Carlo Petrini is a food writer and the founder and president of the International Slow Food Movement. He lives in Bra, Italy. William McCuaig is a translator living in Toronto. Alice Waters is executive chef and owner of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, CA.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

The Slow Food ManifestoPart 1: Appetite and Thought The OriginsFrom "New Epicures'' to Ecological GastronomesAn International Movement of Good TastePleasure Denied, Pleasure RediscoveredMcDonald's Versus Slow FoodPart 2: In the Beginning, the Territory Cultivating DiversityAt the Center, the ProducerThe Rebirth of the OsteriaThe Difficult VoyageThe Salone del GustoPart 3. Educating and Learning The Praise of the Senses and the Paradox of TasteIn the SchoolsFrom the Workshops to the Master of FoodThe UniversityPart 4: The Noah Principle Scenes from a FloodThe Ark and the PresidiaQuality, the Law, and BiotechThe Slow Food Award for the Defense of BiodiversityWithout Nostalgia: AcknowledgmentsPart 5: Appendices The Slow Food Italian PresidiaThe Slow Food International PresidiaSlow Food Award WinnersA Chronology of Arcigola Slow Food

Columbia University Press

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