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 change everything, yet does it hurt to try? Is it good, on many levels, to go for the lowest-possible denominator in everything just because one can? That could be a short-term, even fatal mistake as well.
This is a fairly heavy-going academically-orientated book that sets out to identify and isolate various issues and seeks to give some suggested solutions along the way, noting that one can eschew the negative effects of industrialisation and mass production, drawing much from many so-called less-developed cultures around the world who have not necessarily bought into "big industry" and are not suffering because of this. At the same time in many so-called developed, civilised societies, many people who do seem to care about the entire chain of what they eat are often viewed as being elitist, extremist or just plain "odd". Whether that is because of ignorance, industry-derived pressure or something else is left to the reader to determine.
Mind you, many people are not even in agreement about what exactly is gastronomy and what being a gastronome entails. To some it is mixed with the term gourmet and many just assume it is a love of "good food". Perhaps one has to accept that an archetypal, dictionary description cannot be used to the exclusion of everyday society's description. In many ways this is a difficult book to review as it is neither a sole dry academic work that examines causes and effects and neither is it a pure consumer book with lightly-digestible chapters and conclusions. A book like this feels like something one should read at leisure and consider the implications. There is no "magic bullet" or slam-dunk solution yet it is a thought-provoking read that may bring many things into focus for the average reader.
The concept of slow food is that the food must be sustainably produced in ways that are sensitive to the environment, those who produce the food must be fairly treated and the food must be healthful and delicious yet things seem more "simply complex" at the same time. It would have been nice if the book's text was a bit of a lighter, clearer read but not at the risk of diluting the overall message and level of detail. A bit of a catch 22. The price of this book means that it is not a big investment for something that is capable of giving you a lot of things to think about and consider.