Fast food gets a bad rap these days. And for good reason. But what?s the alternative? Slow food, of course.
Eat Healthfully: Go Slow
Slow Food is a 13-year-old international movement that is gaining a following, well, slowly but steadily, like the snail in its logo. The group promotes the enjoyment of wholesome food as an essential part of a happy and healthy life. Dedicated to achieving a better understanding and respect for where food comes from, developing an appreciation for unprocessed foods that are free of chemicals and pesticides, and promoting foods that use natural growing techniques and cross-breeding, not genetic modification, Slow Food also celebrates traditional foods and rediscovering the pleasures of dining by slowing down. EN likes all that.
The movement started in 1986, when Italians fervently protested the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant alongside the centuries-old Spanish Steps in Rome. Italians felt insulted by this intrusion of fast-food culture upon their own cuisine and culinary heritage. Thus, the backlash began.
In 1989, Slow Food International was founded in Paris, where the group’s manifesto gained endorsement by representatives from 20 countries, including the United States. Today, there are about 60,000 members worldwide, including 7,000 in Slow Food USA. Local chapters, known as convivia, operate around the country, organizing gastronomic, educational and cultural events.
“It’s more than a fine wine and food club,” explains Allen Katz, co-leader of the New York City chapter, the U.S. headquarters. “While about 50% of the Slow Food movement is pleasure-driven,” says Katz, “the educational component is just as important.” For example, special events may include wood-fired cooking lessons, making and eating bread during a visit to a family-run bakery, attending a tomato festival or enjoying a tea tasting.
For more information or to join a local convivium, call Slow Food USA at (212) 965-5640 or visit online at http://www.slowfood.com. Of course, you can adopt Slow Food practices on your own. They fit perfectly into EN‘s philosophy of eating healthfully, but enjoying it at the same time. See box “Eat Healthfully: Go Slow” for starter tips.
Slow Wins the Race
Here are some signs that the Slow Food message is making progress in the U.S.: