Do you have fond memories that are associated with the enjoyment of food? After busy, fast paced weeks of school activities and parents working long and changing shifts, I loved the opportunities weekends gave us to slow down, to break the routine and prepare and eat meals with family and friends. The combined efforts of many happy and talented hands in the kitchens transformed our homes from launch pads into gathering places where we could literally spend the whole day or evening visiting and grazing from the gastronomic bonanzas laid out before our eyes.
For many, those days of gathering for leisurely meals with friends and family have become distant memories. Life has sped up, and so has our food. Slow is now a negative thing. We get angry if we have to spend more than 10 minutes in the drive-thru waiting for the “food” that will feed our hungry, hyped up families. These are not really “happy meals” though – they’re more like “empty meals”; full of calories, but empty of just about everything else. We don’t even know where this food comes from; we just buy it and eat it. Fortunately, there’s a movement that’s working to combat this. The following is shared with permission from slowfoodusa.org:
Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with over 100,000 members in 150 countries who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their communities and the environment. The concept of conviviality is the heart of the Slow Food movement: taking pleasure in the processes of cooking, eating, and sharing meals with others. The movement was founded in Rome by Carlo Petrini in 1986 to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.
“We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods… A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life… May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency. Our defense should begin at the table with Slow Food. Let us rediscover the flavors and savors of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of Fast Food.” (Excerpt from the Official Slow Food Manifesto, as published in “Slow Food: A Case for Taste” in 2001).”
The food we eat, and how we eat it, grow it, transport it, trade it, prepare it and share it becomes a physical and emotional part of who we are and therefore should be considered as forethought, not afterthought. Food is a link to our past and our cultural identity. It’s part of our celebrations and a component of recuperation and restoration. Slow Food is the way we can rediscover the joys of understanding, growing, preparing and savoring the foods that are part of us.
© 2014 Curt Savage Media