• We Are What We Eat

  • A Slow Food Manifesto
  • By: Alice Waters
  • Narrated by: Alice Waters
  • Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (66 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From chef and food activist Alice Waters, an impassioned plea for a radical reconsideration of the way each and every one of us cooks and eats.

In We Are What We Eat, Alice Waters urges us to take up the mantle of slow food culture, the philosophy at the core of her life’s work. When Waters first opened Chez Panisse in 1971, she did so with the intention of feeding 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. Waters 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.

Over years of working with regional farmers, Waters 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. 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 Waters 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.  

©2021 Alice Waters (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Waters makes a convincing case that the act of eating is political, with powerful effects on the future of the planet.” (Time)

“Waters, legendary chef and founder of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, delivers an impassioned manifesto on how food and its quality impacts society and the planet.... She offers cogent, well-reasoned analyses of the price of convenience, blind trust in advertising, and cheapness, all of which seduce 'us into losing our desire, confidence, and ability to do things for ourselves'. Highly convincing and incredibly inspiring, Waters' fervent entreaty is sure to open eyes and change minds.” (Publishers Weekly

“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.” (Jane Fonda, author of What Can I Do?

“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.” (Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation)

What listeners say about We Are What We Eat

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A compelling and beautiful vision!

I’m inspired to reconstruct my relationship with food and as a result my life. I know the truth of this vision, spending a childhood in the countryside of Jamaica where nearly all the food was directly from our land and prepared slowly and carefully over a makeshift outdoor stove. It was tremendous. This book transported me back in time, back to the land. I’d love to eat like that again and Waters just pointed the path.

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Focuses on how fast food effects culture

you are what you eat. Fast food is a culture. It influences your values. Choose your thought pattern. Teaches you to Value things for the wrong reason and teaches the wrong values.

I'm always thinking about fast food and how it has no nutrition and the health effects of it and eating it but I hadn't considered all of the other things that she talks about in this book. Amazing!

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Pioneering systemic change and making it approachable.

Wow, what a book!
Alice articulately weaves through the murky waters of the food industry.
From how the food is grown, picked, and transported. How those farms and farmers are treated and paid. To how we choose, buy, and create our dishes at home or at work.
Expressing the deep need for reformation of the food system in schools. As well as how we teach children about food and nature and growing foods.
She breaks it down into words that help you to describe fast food or slow food cultures around you.
Encouraging the world to embrace a slow food culture that directly fights against the fast food culture and its many faces.
Through thinking globally and acting locally, we can make change in our lives. In our communities. In our families.
Thank you for stewarding these powerful ideas Alice Waters.
For beginning your restaurant with all of its’ powerful concepts and ideas with all of it’s forward thinking, for writing this book, the world owes you a debt.
From one humble man trying to bring the same changes. I see you. Thank you.

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Incredible reimagining of our food philosophies and practices.

Here’s the thing, many people consider Waters to be elitist or an absolutist. But if we want change, if we want equality for all then we have to be expanded in our thinking. Maybe we all just need to catch up with her! My favorite chapter was titled, Pleasure in Work. Overall, a great and inspiring book.

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A Book that Needs to be read by Everyone who eats

This book has made me so aware of the be connection of everything to food. my personal habits and how I live and eat is how I personally can take better care of the earth, be a better person and help humanity. loved it. I have always admired Alice Waters and to hear her read her manifesto was very inspiring.

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EXCELLENT!

And to hear Alice Waters read this book makes it so special. A wonderful reminder of what we eat matters for our health and the health of our planet. A wonderful book!

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Excellent.

An enjoyable if not polemical introduction to so many of the food related problems surrounding our industrialized ‘fast-food’ existence. My interest in listening to this wonderful book was (is) part of perhaps an all too slowly (no pun intended) emerging interest in the need to slow down. To be sure, food is only one (albeit significant) part of the increasingly broad existential angst so many of us are feeling as part of the industrial ‘burn out’ of late modern liberalism. It was a joy to listen to Alice read and summarize her life’s work. Finding ways to fold in some of her recommendations in a suburban neighborhood and full time ‘professional’ existence will remain a constant but necessary challenge. We started a small garden a couple years ago, we try to buy organic, we rarely eat out and love to cook at home. How we all (and perhaps more importantly our children and children’s children) will get to the world Alice so mercifully calls us to will require substantial changes from all of us, but how to get there from here without making matters worse remains one of the central geopolitical problems of our era.