Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair
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Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair

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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  487 ratings  ·  55 reviews
By now most of us are aware of the threats looming in the food world. The best-selling Fast Food Nation and other recent books have alerted us to such dangers as genetically modified organisms, food-borne diseases, and industrial farming. Now it is time for answers, and Slow Food Nation steps up to the challenge. Here the charismatic leader of the Slow Food movement, Carlo...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Rizzoli Ex Libris (first published January 1st 2005)
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Tim
The basic concept of this book is that we should all buy locally grown, fresh, seasonal food and cook a few meals from scratch. At times the books seems to demonize modern agriculture and our fast paced society, though Mr. Petrini repeatedly admits that a return to subsistence agriculture could not possibly support the current world population. On page 187: "We do not need the accumulation of wealth, but its redistribution..." It's a bit of a propaganda piece, which didn't necessarily bother me,...more
mtthw
I skimmed some of the other reviews to see what other people are saying and there is lots of “too idealistic” and “too pretentious” whining. I approached this as an academic book, not a lazing about on Sunday afternoon reading. And while it is sometimes difficult to plow though and there are some awards turns of phrase (which I’m guess is an ESL thing), the book has some solid concepts.

I personally don’t recommend reading it unless you have serious interest in the Slow Foods community. I don’t...more
Sarah
Conceptually, this book makes much more sense to me and inspires change much more than some of Michael Pollan's stuff, Food, Inc, or even some of the more in-your-face stuff like "Eating Animals." It makes a case for WHY we should want good, clean, and fair food, rather than a case for why our current food system is evil and why we should hate The Man.
Camille
Petrini is obviously a very intelligent, thoughtful person who is very humane and driven to improve the quality of life for people worldwide. I believe this book was intended to be a manifesto for Slow Food and so is written in academic style. The writing becomes dry and dense at times (I felt like I was back in grad school reading research studies at times while reading this!), but his diary entries make the concepts easier to understand. I am a big supporter of Slow Food, so I felt a need to c...more
Ben
Nov 19, 2008 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: food
Well, I finally got to read a list of proposed actions to take regarding agro-activism. Petrini started the Slow Foods movement in 1989 in Rome. He tells great stories, as you can tell from his Diary entries in this book. He also has a semi unique perspective regarding food since he ran Terra Madre, has visited many many farms and parts of the country with unique food histories.

I was able to put another book on my list, think about how to proceed with my fascination of food over high technology...more
Darren
Care for your food and care about how it is produced, that is the central theme to this book that aims to show that you are not necessarily a rich gastronome or a hippy to share such values.

Many demands and challenges face modern day food, some valid and some possibly overblown or misunderstood. Whether it be greater demand outstripping supply, genetically-modified organisms, food-borne diseases, industrial farming and climate change, it is clear that mankind cannot necessarily influence nor cha...more
Alexandra
Jul 28, 2007 Alexandra rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: liberals and foodies
I like it and I like the scholarship and thought he's put into creating a new theory of gastronomy, but I can't shake the feeling that the entire theory is constructed from an elitist, Eurocentric, and, most unfortunately, a perspective that does not consider the consequences of what he is asking. If nations were to adopt this new framework of food production and demand that the food we sell and eat meet the criteria of "good, clean and fair," I don't believe the earth would be able to sustain t...more
kathryn
Oct 27, 2008 kathryn rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Food policy makers
Shelves: sustainable
I am plugging through this one and can’t guarantee I will finish it. Though I think Carlo Petrini is right on with his philosophy, this book reads like an academic text and contains too many abstract ideas and not enough real life examples. The best parts of this book are the diary entries, in which he tells stories about his experiences with food around the world that clearly make a case for “slow food”. We would all benefit from more slowness in our daily lives, he thinks (and I do too). He do...more
Kim
Sep 01, 2013 Kim marked it as started-reading-but-put-on-hold
Some paths are converging for me in the place that reads "what I want to do next". I studied Food Science at Cal Poly, McGill Univ. and UC Berkeley only to abandon it in disgust (food is not about shelf life, corporate profit and frogs do not need to be guillotined for students to know their skin changes color when they are scared sh*tless) for English Literature.

I never stopped loving the miracle of food though and have continued to study - mostly non-Western - approaches to raising food and e...more
Randi
While I agree 100 percent with every tenet Petrini offers about what food should be (good, clean, and fair, and his detailed philosophies on all three), I just don't think his goals for transforming the food industry are realistic. The fact is this: Until petrol prices rise enough in the country, Americans will be completely satisfied with buying tomatoes in the dead of winter, trucked from across the country, even if they're not in season and taste bland. It's terribly sad, but reality. Petrini...more
Erik
Great book if you have enough time to spend foraging for those prized local products and cooking them in your well-stocked kitchen. A bit verbose and elitist, but he's got the right idea - buy local and buy in season for best value and best taste. I learned this concept on my first day of cooking school, so it's hardly a revelation.

If anything, this book points out the disparity that exists within the United States. The people who have the luxury of reading this book probably already have an id...more
Veronica
I feel like the book could have been simplified. The book is only 249 pages but it dragged on and on. There was too much "fluff" and unnecessary details and fillers. To see the main point you have to think about it. The book should have been straight to t he point about learning what a gastronome is, and what is considered good, clean, and fair.

Carlo Petrini did open my eyes to food problems around the globe, and he is very knowledgeable about food. He loves being a gastronome and he loves slow...more
taylor cocalis
May 26, 2007 taylor cocalis is currently reading it
although the translation makes the writing seem verbose at times, there are some brilliant messages within the pages:
- gastronomy is not a stomach disease, but rather an important science linked to anyone who eats food
- in addition, gastronomy is NOT just cooking. . . rather it is an interdisciplinary science that addresses how food relates to all parts of culture
- a gastronome who is not aware of the environmental implications of his food is stupid, but an environmentalist who is not a gastrono...more
Ingrid Keir
This book can be dry at times as it is a manifesto, and rather scholarly, but it was super helpful to have a book that defines all the buzz words that folks are using nowadays like "biodiversity" and "sustainable." I appreciated his diaries. I also loved the small excerpt about the SF Ferry Building Farmer's Market - it is pretty funny! Overall, this book gives a good overview of why knowing the source of your food is super important, the evils of the world bank organization and the agricultural...more
David Schwan
The premise of this book is good, unfortunately it is too long. This could have been an essay and gotten it's point across much better.

Preserving old ways of cooking is good, but that does not negate newer ways of doing things also.

Locally grown is great until you live in places that can't grow food all year round. All of these authors live in places that have a steady supply of locally grown food all year round. If you live in the northern US you will never get fresh vegetables in the winter.
Elizabeth
Sep 16, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Gastronomes, not just any old foodie
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Laura!
Shelves: food, non-fiction
I liked this book. (Thank you, Laura!) Petrini correctly identifies the world's food problems. He's got a lot of solutions. He's tough. He's also extremely redundant. I got tired very early on of the use of "he" and "man" when meaning people of no specific gender. And rolled my eyes at one or two paragraphs that similarly seemed to dispute the 2005 copyright. Those things aside, I really enjoyed the book. I'm already planning my travels to meet farmers in every corner of the world!
Brian
A manifesto for the Slow Food movement, it took me about halfway through the book to get into it. His diary inclusions are interesting, but the general information so far is not exciting.
I have given up on this book. It couldn't hold my interest, because it was simply to fact-driven and dry, and too opinionated. I like the ideas presented, but drifted away from the book and started reading others before I finished that one, a sure sign that it was time to give up.
Romana
Jul 09, 2007 Romana rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Everyone
Gastronomy shouldn't simply be stated as "the art or science of good eating," but rather be a more complex, significant meaning: defending biodiversity;
promoting taste education; and building of local food communities. Petrini thoroughly elaborates on why our food should be good (nutritious and delicious), clean ( sustainably produced using environmentally sensitive methods), and fair (by producers who are justly compensated and treated with dignity). Magnificent read!
Rebecca
I really agree with the concepts of the Slow Food Movement, but I'm afraid this book really doesn't sell it! The tone comes across as simultaneously snobbish and condescending, all the while making relatively obvious points. Maybe it's because I'm already mostly au fait with the things he was talking about, and also because the book is several years old, and therefore its ideas have had longer to defuse. But still, I thought it felt rather unnecessary and boring...
Lisa Wuertz
This book was really boring and full of words that I had to look up every few minutes. You would read along and there would be a great little tidbit paragraph, but then it was back to the monotony for several pages. I didn't even read the last 50 pages or so because I have better things to do with my time than read a boring food book, especially when there are so many more interesting food books out there. I was really disappointed in this one.
Barry
This seemed a worthy book, and a pleasantly different angle on the whole food & sustainability thing, but for whatever reason I just couldn't seem to get in step with it and stick with reading it. But it might just be perfect for someone in a different head-space, so don't take the two stars as a critical rating.
Kate
Patronizing, elitist, disappointing. Seems like he could have used far fewer pages to state his manifesto. While I appreciate good food immensely, I just can't get on board with his notion that gastronomy and "the pleasure principle" are the answers to environmental sustainability and fair trade.
Laura
This book is not what I would call an "easy read," but I loved it. I am a big believer in the slow food movement, and hope that it will gain more momentum. It's a shame how disconnected we've become from the food we ingest multiple times a day...every day.
Cara
This book discusses the importance of knowing the environmental and social aspects of where our food comes from in the world. It really opened my eyes to the global food industry's injustices to the small farmer, migrant worker, the planet and food itself.
Betsy
I finally finished! I appreciate Petrini's premise, and even more I appreciate his acknowledgement that the premise is an long term (and idealistic) goal. All in all I found the book to be thoughtful and another nudge towards sustainability.
Heather
Jan 27, 2008 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone
great information, from a culture that hasn't entirely lost it's food culture. Carl has a bit of an awkward voice... probably because English is not first language. Makes me want to learn to savor my food more and get to know my local farmers.
Nancy
While I find the slow food movement enticing, I am slogging through this book. For me, I think, my attention gets pulled from the narrative by trying to prounounce and remember the Italian names for people, places, and foods.
Angela
The writing is pretty dry, at times, but overall this is a great book about why agricultural sustainability is important, not just from a environmental point-of-view, but from the point-of-view of culture - and pleasure.
Kaitron
This is waiting for me at the library and I am pretty excited....
ETA: I am sad to say that I couldn't finish this one. Maybe it was a little to much preaching to the choir for me. I do embrace the philosophy however.
Flea
Jan 16, 2008 Flea added it
normally I love books about food, especially ethical comsupmtion, but this book just was torture to read. I would start a paragraph and my brain would go: "nuh-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na"
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Carlo Petrini, an Italian sociologist, is the founder of the international movement Slow Food (1989).
More about Carlo Petrini...
Slow Food: The Case for Taste (Arts and Traditions of the Table) Slow Food Revolution: A New Culture for Eating and Living Slow Food: Collected Thoughts on Taste, Tradition, and the Honest Pleasures of Food Terra Madre: Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities A Wine Atlas of the Langhe: The Greatest Barolo and Barbaresco Vineyards

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