March 16, 2009

Slow Food

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There is a revolution afoot and I’ve picked up my knife and rolling pin in its defense. Call me spoiled, call it expensive taste, call it what you want, but I have such a deep loathing for the fast food chains of the world that this so called revolution is just what I needed. In my head, I’ve personified fast food. The greasy kid from high school with slicked back hair and an odor slightly reminiscent of lunchmeat. There is nothing wrong with the kid, he just kind of skeeves me out. Same with the 1200 calorie Triple Whopper sandwich from Burger King. This strange mash of meat, bread, and grease should just not be allowed to bear the label of “food”.

And then there are the intellectuals: sipping shiraz in their thick framed glasses and plaid sweaters, nibbling aged cheeses with a novella in hand, and crunching on local foods bought after a long day of scrounging at the farmer’s market. They swirl the rich and robust liquid around in their mouths to taste the oak, the berry, the body. They spread the cheese over their taste buds. They bite slowly and chew thoughtfully. They are the antithesis of lunchmeat kid. They are the Slow Food Movement.

Carlo Petrini, one of my favorite Italian revolutionaries, began the Slow Food Movement and has since raised awareness for the cause and gained followers in over a hundred different countries. Slow Food states their philosophy as “We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our movement is founded upon this concept of eco-gastronomy – a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet”. Essentially, the movement aims to slow people down to allow them to savor every flavor and every ingredient, support locally grown produce, and explore the diversity of taste. Members of the Slow Food Movement are reveling in local cuisine, upholding culinary and cultural traditions, and educating the public about the complexity of taste, the danger of fast food, and what ethical and safe buying practices are at the supermarket.

At 12:00 PM on March 13th, I sped down Hoy road and said sayonara to the Cornell Campus. I was finally able to clear my head of the seemingly useless facts I had memorized for the three midterms I had that week. As dramatic as it may be, I felt like I could finally breathe. After two hours of mindless driving, I am finally home and ready to spend my break in front of the stove. I intend to find the longest, most tedious recipe and to revel in it. And for a change, I want to slow down. No more running up the slope while gulping down hot coffee and stuffing my face with a muffin. No more rushed dining hall meals or eating without actually tasting. I’ll spend my break sipping shiraz, nibbling cheese, and crunching on local vegetables. I’m spending my break as a member of the Slow Food Movement.