Join visionary chef Alice Waters in conversation with Michael Pollan as she delivers an impassioned manifesto on how food and its quality impacts society and the planet.
“This beautiful book speaks to the values we need to embrace at this moment in human history: Stewardship, diversity, interconnectedness, simplicity, balance. Reading it has inspired me to do things differently. It will inspire you as well.”
“Alice Waters is my favorite chef, and We Are What We Eat is a beautiful, important book. It’s full of passion, anger at the way things are, and hope for a kinder, fairer, more humane, and vastly more enjoyable future. This book is the culmination of a life’s work, a great life, and is a must read.”
It was fifty years ago this summer when Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse, the Berkeley restaurant that would make “farm to table” a household phrase and alter the course of American dining. But back in the summer of 1971, Alice’s intentions were simple and unassuming: her goal was to feed people good food during a time of political turmoil. Customers responded to the locally sourced organic ingredients, to the dishes made by hand, and to the welcoming hospitality that infused the small space—human qualities that were disappearing from a country increasingly seduced by takeout, frozen dinners, and prepackaged ingredients. Alice came to see that the phenomenon of fast food culture, which prioritized cheapness, availability, and speed, was not only ruining our health, but also dehumanizing the ways we live and relate to one another.
We Are What We Eat: A Slow Food Manifesto is Alice’s impassioned plea for a radical reconsideration of the way each and every one of us cooks and eats. Reflecting on her decades of experience as a chef and activist, she urges us to take up the mantle of slow food culture, the philosophy at the core of her life’s work.
Over years of working with regional farmers, she and her partners learned how geography and seasonal fluctuations affect the ingredients on the menu, as well as about the dangers of pesticides, the plight of fieldworkers, and the social, economic, and environmental threats posed by industrial farming and food distribution.
In We Are What We Eat, Alice unpacks how so many of the serious problems we face in the world today—from illness, to social unrest, to economic disparity, and environmental degradation—are all, at their core, connected to food. Fortunately, there is an antidote. Waters argues that by eating in a “slow food way,” each of us—like the community around her restaurant—can be empowered to prioritize and nurture a different kind of culture, one that champions values such as biodiversity, seasonality, stewardship, and pleasure in work.
This is a declaration of action against fast food values, and a working theory about what we can do to change the course. As she makes clear, every decision we make about what we put in our mouths affects not only our bodies but also 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.