Tired of the McDonaldization of the world, of foods so full of chemicals and preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup you can't even taste the real food? Slow down with the Slow Food movement.
Slow Food was founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini as a response to the opening of a McDonald’s in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Petrini recognized that the industrialization of food was standardizing taste and leading to the annihilation of thousands of local and regional food varieties and flavors. "Slow Food" is about encouraging small growers and artisanal producers, protecting the environment and promoting biodiversity. It's also literally about slowing down and enjoying food, friends and family. Today, Slow Food is active in over 100 countries and has a worldwide membership of over 80,000.
So how do you "live slow"? Take an interest in where your food comes from -- for instance, go to a farmer's market in the summer and talk to the farmers. And take time to slow down and to enjoy life with family and friends. "Every day can be enriched by doing something slow," says the Slow Food web site. "Making pasta from scratch one night, seductively squeezing your own orange juice from the fresh fruit, lingering over a glass of wine and a slice of cheese -- even deciding to eat lunch sitting down instead of standing up."
The local chapter, or convivium, of Slow Food hosts events, some for members only and others open to the public. On Thursday, February 7 at the Café at the Botanical Gardens there will be a gathering of local Slow Food members from 6-8 pm. Slow Food Regional Governor Tom Montague and a farmer, Bill Keenor, will speak about Slow Food. If you're interested in joining, this is a good opportunity to learn more, says Pardis Stitt, the local chapter contact.
Looking ahead, on Thursday, April 17, Alabama Environmental Council's Green Tie Affair will be a joint event with Slow Food Birmingham, with several local chefs using local food sources. And on Sunday, June 8, Jones Valley Urban Farm and Slow Food Birmingham will co-host an event at the Gardens at Park Place, where four or five local chefs prepare an early supper for 150 guests.
If you're interested in joining Slow Food Birmingham, here's an e-mail link for more information.