In honor of our annual tradition of gathering with friends and family around a full table to give thanks for all of our blessings, this week we will be focusing on food, and how to incorporate the idea of slow food into our busy lives.
The Slow Food Movement was started about thirty years ago in Piedmont, Italy, by Carlo Petrini. His main motivation was to combat the fast food trends that were taking hold, as evidenced to him by the brand new McDonalds installed in one of the most bustling piazzas in central Rome, and offer a reason for foodies to gather together to savor local flavors and enjoy each other’s company. This hobby, which also boosted support for local trattoria and wine cellars, was soon transformed into an international undertaking that lead to the Slow Food Manifesto being released in 1989. Petrini called for a major cultural shift:
“Against the universal madness of the Fast Life, we need to choose the defense of tranquil material pleasure. Against those, and there are many of them, who confuse efficiency with frenzy, we propose the vaccine of a sufficient portion of assured sensual pleasure, to be practiced in slow and prolonged enjoyment.”
Another element that spurred this movement on through the nineties was the fact that obesity had become a leading cause of death. Petrini promoted the idea of cooking with the intention to nourish the health of your body, mind, and soul.
He did this by endorsing “taste education,” which helps us develop the appreciation of each element of a meal, experiencing the unique flavors and textures that each dish contributes. He also discussed the defense of biodiversity, which he claimed was needed to preserve traditional and regional cuisine, and also support thriving plants and healthy livestock characteristic of a local ecosystem.
Modern-day followers of the Slow Food Movement are most concerned about reducing the carbon footprint of our consumption habits. They value fresh ingredients over anything that is chemically preserved, and support the small-scale processing of foods. This lines up pretty directly with the buy local movement that swept the United States in recent years. Fresher food is healthier, tastier, better for the environment, and supportive of your local economy!
The challenge for this week is to make an effort to be intentional about – and truly taste – everything you eat or drink:
Savor the Moment
- Try to procure locally-grown, seasonal foods.
- Replace processed foods with whole ingredients.
- Shop for clean foods that were not grown using any pesticides or genetic modifications.
- Experience your meals! Dine with family and friends, and truly savor the flavors that are brought together.