Re: Slow Food
Hi Adam, Amanda and all
There's more to it than that, Adam, it's not just an elitist movement.
"In every case, the point is to put people in touch with food and the
farmers who produce it."
"The goal, says Patrick Martins, head of Slow Food's national office,
is to create "a little mini-economy," through which Slow Food members
help support small local producers by buying their products directly."
Taking time to enjoy
"Slow Food, dedicated to preserving and supporting traditional ways
of growing, producing and preparing food."
"We want to extend the kind of attention that environmentalism has
dedicated to the panda and the tiger to domesticated plants and
animals," says Carlo Petrini, the movement's founder, a tall,
handsome bearded man of 54. "A hundred years ago, people ate between
one hundred and a hundred and twenty different species of food. Now
our diet is made up of at most ten or twelve species."
Slow Food started a petition that was signed by half a million
people, and eventually Italy obtained exemptions for thousands of
artisan food makers.
There's a lot of interest in Slow Food in Japan now. It dovetails
quite neatly with the teikei movement, that inspired the CSA movement
in the US, and also with the seed-saving movement, which is quite
strong here. These are important issues, not just for elites.
On the other hand, there's this:
The Faces of Poverty: Malnourished, Hungry and... Obese?
"The poor do not eat what they want, nor what they know that they
should eat, but what they can get."
"Restrictions in access to food determine two simultaneous phenomena
that are two sides of the same coin: poor people are malnourished
because they do not have enough to feed themselves, and they are
obese because they eat poorly, with an important energy imbalance.
The food they can afford is often cheap, industrialized, mass
produced, and expensive."
Much the same issue, really.
Journey to Forever
The slow food movement started as a reaction by Europeans to the cultural
imperialism of the"fast food" phenomenon and the debasement of taste that
comes from McDonaldization. It has been embraced by traditional European
restaurateurs as a way of preserving the three hour lunch, hence the US
movement's becoming ensconced in the digs of M. Pepin's "French Culinary
Institute" in the Soho section of Manhattan.
If people learn to cook and enjoy a proper potato gratinee, or lyonaise, or a
boulliabaise that takes hours to cook, then they will be less apt to gulp
down Big Macs.
There is a class issue here, unfortunately - there is nobody at home in two
minimum wage homes to cook "slow food." Quick or fast food, a product going
back to shift workers during the Industrial Revolution, will always be here
for folks who need fast fueling between subsistence jobs (think toast, bacon,
tea and sugar instead of slow simmered porridges and stews.) Mickey Dees is
just the latest incarnation.
Groups like Slow Food are trying to bring back the long dinner, free of
television, that used to be the center of the lives of many people. This is
hard to do , especially when there are two breadwinners, kids who need help
with homework and not enough hours in the day to do everything. To depend on
women to make this happen is not fair, but like most social change, will
require the active acquenesence and participation of women.
I personally love cooking for a long dinner party, but I need folks around
who have conversation, know what the hell they're eating, and have the grace
to bring a decent bottle of wine to table. Who knows, maybe folks will
start dressing for dinner.
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