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Slow Food

Slow Food: The Case for Taste

Carlo Petrini
Translated by William McCuaig
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  • Book Info
    Slow Food
    Book Description:

    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? 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.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50237-5
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Alice Waters

    I remember when in 1986 Carlo Petrini organized a protest against the building of a McDonald’s at the Spanish Steps in Rome. The protesters, whom Carlo armed with bowls of penne, defiantly and deliciously stated their case against the global standardization of the world’s food. With this symbolic act, Carlo inspired a following and sparked the Slow Food movement. Three years later, delegates from fifteen countries came together in Paris to pledge to preserve the diversity of the world’s foods.

    Since then, Slow Food has grown into a global organization that supports and celebrates food traditions in more than 40...

  4. Series Editor’s Introduction
    (pp. xi-xvi)
    Albert Sonnenfeld

    The New York Times, in a recent editorial entitled “Read This Slowly,” asked its readers to “consider the Slow Food Movement, which took hold in Italy in recent years and is spreading around the world at an impressive clip.”

    Carlo Petrini, founder of the movement, here offers to our readership a consideration of Slow Food, its origins, history, and principles. At a time when globalization is a subject not only for debate but also for angry demonstrations in the street, this book is an important addition to the Columbia Arts and Traditions of the Table series.

    There were 130,000 attendees,...

  5. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Preface to the American Edition
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. The Official Slow Food Manifesto
    (pp. xxiii-xxv)
  8. Chapter 1 Appetite and Thought
    (pp. 1-35)

    In Bra, a small city in Piedmont on the edge of the territory known as the Langhe, a group of young people were involved in social issues in the middle of the 1970s. They were connected with ARCI (Associazione Ricreativa Culturale Italiana), the national recreational association on the political left; their high level of activism was motivated by a strong cultural commitment; and they made their presence felt. Bra was undergoing transformation, but a century of industrial production had left its mark, shaping destinies and outcomes, urban landscapes and moments of repose.

    Our town was ringed

    by a belt of...

  9. Chapter 2 In the Beginning, the Territory
    (pp. 37-63)

    The foundation on which we have built Arcigola Slow Food is the concept of territory (regional and local specificity; see p. 7 above). Local cultures are the answer to the drive to standardize inherent in the fast-food model; their variety and diversity are the key by which our members all over the world acknowledge and understand each other. From them we get wine, raw ingredients, culinary techniques, histories, identities, and the habit of exchanging knowledge, products, and projects. Territory seems like such a simple point of reference, but it has its own history, and in Italy, Europe, and the world...

  10. Chapter 3 Educating and Learning
    (pp. 65-83)

    Beginning in the 1950s, a powerful wave of industrialization and modernization swept over Italy. Historians, sociologists, and anthropologists have studied the effects of the passage from a rural society that had remained almost unchanged for centuries to one that closely followed the pattern of development of the richest nations, led by the United States. The changes in lifestyle, collective mentality, patterns of consumption, and even the landscape have been profound. And there has been an enormous transformation in the way we take our nourishment.

    Until the Second World War, around 60 percent of the limited household budgets of Italians went...

  11. Chapter 4 The Noah Principle
    (pp. 85-110)

    On December 2, 1996, during the first Salone del Gusto held at Turin’s Lingotto Exhibition Center, Slow Food promoted a meeting to discuss “Un’Arca del Gusto per salvare il pianeta dei sapori” (An Ark of Taste to save the planet of flavors). Scholars of gastronomy, sociologists, political scientists, and gourmets were confronted with a harsh fact: the worrying disappearance of competent craftspeople and the systematic disappearance of fruit and vegetable species, of products that are part of our folk memory, under the impact of disastrous agricultural policies that don’t respect natural biorhythms, the threat of environmental degradation, and hygiene laws...

  12. Without Nostalgia: Acknowledgments
    (pp. 111-112)
  13. Appendices
    (pp. 113-144)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 145-146)
  15. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 147-148)
  16. Index
    (pp. 149-155)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 156-158)