What is slow food?
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Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.
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(definition from Wikipedia)
Slow Food is an international movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of the broader Slow movement. The movement has since expanded globally to over 100,000 members in 132 countries. Its goals of sustainable foods and promotion of local small businesses are paralleled by a political agenda directed against globalization of agricultural products.
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The Slow Food movement was founded in Italy in response to the obvious. Italian (and other Continental) food traditions are centered around family and long midday meals, not to mention the quality of food. Traditionalists behind the movement responded with alarm as students and office workers in cities like Milan began to eschew that meal in favor of a burger or pizza alla taglia (by the slice) in order to rush back to the office. Slow Food is well organized and they do have chapters in the US. They have a near cousin in the "locavore" movement which also eschews fast and highly processed food in favor of local products.
Slow food means eating good food, properly raised and prepared, short-cuts and convenience foods be damned!
Slow food, as I think of it: food for and by someone who loves the process, the thinking, the reading, the shopping, the adapting, the creating, the measuring, chopping, dicing, slicing, the tools, the tasting during the process, the dirtying of as many things as possible, the presentation, the dining, the lingering at the table with friends and family.