Slow Food

March 7, 2011

 

So I get little, teensy bit excited about food.  You might have sensed that from my last blog post.  I love REAL food – food grown or raised thoughtfully, prepared lovingly and eaten slowly with pleasure and appreciation surrounded by family and friends.

Eating is a basic act that we all must do.  Be it spicy red beans and rice cooked all day and made from our secret family recipe or sitting in a strawberry field on top of GreenBluff eating a warm, perfectly ripe strawberry plucked straight from the plant as the sweet smell of strawberries floats on the warm breeze around you. (my favorite, favorite thing to do during strawberry season – seriously, you’ll be dizzy with delight!)

On average, we eat 3 times a day (some of us more, some less).  That’s 3 times a day that we have the opportunity to make a conscious choice about what we put into our bodies.  Because I love the saying so much, I’ll say it again…”you are what you eat”.  It doesn’t have to be complicated but we do have to stop for a few minutes from our busy lives, unplug and SLOW down.

I’m a proud member of Slow Food USA and active in our local chapter, Slow Food Spokane River.  Slow Food was started in Italy after a McDonald’s tried to open a restaurant (are they really restaurants?) in Rome and was met with protests…I love the Italians…they are SERIOUS about their food.  Slow Food has grown into a worldwide grassroots movement of people who are interested in taking back our food system and preserving the culture of our food.  It links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

So what does it mean to me in my everyday life?  That’s a great question!  I’ve always loved cooking and feeding people.  I’ve also always been concerned about the environment.  In high, school when I started our first environmental club with some friends, I didn’t really put the two together.  But over the years, as I’ve continued to learn more about food, cooking and the environment, I now understand that they’re inseparable.

My family’s eating habits continue to evolve.  I take baby steps.  Each year I ask myself, what else can we do to eat more locally, more sustainably, more slowly?  How can we build community around food?  We buy our produce from local sources at farmer’s markets, Main Market or Fresh Abundance.  We eat seasonally (no thank you to year-round asparagus).  If we can’t get local, then we buy organic.  (sorry folks, I’m willing to give up certain things but I can’t give up citrus)  Last year was the year we switched over to all locally raised meats and poultry.  Lucky for us, our options for these foods are expanding greatly in the Spokane area.  It takes a bit of planning and research but once you make the jump…you’ll never go back.

This year my goal is to fill our pantry and freezer during the growing season with all the essentials.  Can our own pickles, relishes, marinara, tomatoes, salsa, pesto…all the things that we eat regularly.  Lucky for me, here at the store, we have some great books on canning and preserving and all the “slow food” kitchen gadgets a girl could ever dream of…and oh how I dream!

If you’re interested in learning more, here are a few books that I love on the topic.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Grub by Anna Lappe

In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore

Slow Food Nation by Carlo Petrini

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

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