What is Slow Food? Short answer: the exact opposite of fast food.
While fast food by its very nature values convenience over the health of people and the environment, the Slow Food movement is spreading awareness of taking time to properly grow, prepare and enjoy food, emphasizing quality over convenience.
The Slow Food movement was originally founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini of northern Italy, following two events. The first was the opening of a McDonald’s franchise in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy. The second – and more catastrophic – was the death of 19 people, plus the poisoning of hundreds more, by cheap wine that was cut with methanol.
Greatly disturbed by these events, Petrini, a self-described ‘professional gourmet,’ gathered together a few like-minded friends, and in 1989, released the Slow Food Manifesto in a Paris theatre.
An excerpt of the Manifesto reads, “against the universal madness of the Fast Life, we need to choose the defence 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.”
Today, the Slow Food organization has tens of thousands of members, across 50 countries, including the United States. Its core principles include raising awareness of local, sustainable foods, protecting biodiversity, protecting and promoting foods that are at risk of extinction, supporting local farmers and culinary artisans, and celebrating wholesome food and the experience of dining.
The Slow Food organization believes that food is a universal right, and that it should be accessible to all people. Food should be grown naturally, cooked with care, eaten mindfully, and thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed.
Petrini wrote: “Today hardly anyone buys their wine directly from their trusted wine maker, or goes to the farm to buy eggs and a chicken or a rabbit; hardly anyone knows the baker who makes their bread, the charcutier who slaughters the pigs and cures the meat, the man who churns the milk of his sheep or goats to make cheese.”
Slow Food is about getting back in touch with the true purpose and pleasure of eating. It is about a richer, more vital relationship with our food, an attitude that existed before McDonald’s popped up all over the world, compromising our health.
Not that we are singling out McDonald’s as the culprit; fast food is now in epidemic proportions, rampant not only from fast food eateries. Fast food now permeates our grocery store shelves, as well.
The Slow Food attitude survives our busy lives, and over the past number of years, there are a growing number of people who are taking notice. We hope you will too!
-The Alternative Daily