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Fast-Food Values and Slow Food Values * * * Alice Waters Alice Waters is the founder and owner of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California.Named best restaurant in the United States by Gourmet magazine in 2001, Chez Panisse exemplifies her philosophy of serving the most delicious organic products, only when they are in season-the practice that has become known worldwide as California Cuisine.
The Edible Schoolyard (ESY), which Waters initiated in 1995 at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Middle School and for which the Center for Ecoliteracy was one of the initial funders, has played a central role in CEL's work with food in schools (see "Revolution Step-by-Step: On Building a Climate for Change" in Part III and "Sustainability-A New Item on the Lunch Menu" in Part IV).
ESY has received international attention by demonstrating that garden experiencesand cooking classes can be integrated into a whole curriculum, and that the way to convince young people to eat nutritious food is not to lecture them, but to say, "Try this and see if it doesn't taste better." In 1996 Waters created the Chez Panisse Foundation, with a mission to transform public education and to support projects that integrate gardening, cooking, daily lunches prepared on campus with fresh ingredients, and the core academic curriculum.
Slow Food describes its members as "eco-gastronomes," devoted to the pleasure that food brings, but also committed to maintaining respect for and a balance with nature, preserving the environment, and acting out of the conviction that their pleasure is connected with that of others, which leads them to do charity work in places where pleasure is hard to find.
This essay, drawn from talks that Waters gives across the country and around the world, displays the clarity and depth of her thinking about what we can learn from food and what we can learn about ourselves from the ways we prepare, serve, and eat food.
Over three decades, the restaurant has developed a network of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures it a steady supply of pure and fresh ingredients.
Waters is author of eight books, the most recent of which is Chez Panisse Fruit (2002).
What lessons do they absorb when they eat a Happy Meal?
What are the values that fast food inculcates in them?
A national diet heavy with processed foods and meat is leading to obesity and diabetes at record levels, and to a health crisis that we will still be paying for decades from now, in terms of health care costs and lost productivity.
Resources are infinite, so it's perfectly okay to waste.