What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Fri, January 11, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
In her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver has a whole chapter entitled "What do you eat in January?" (and she lives on a farm!). And although it is a baffling 50 degrees here in NYC, the calendar does suggest that it's January, as does the food at the market (potatoes, onions, winter squash).
A quick look at the links on Field to Plate will show what's available by season in your area. For us New Yorkers, it's basically a handy tool for figuring out where we wish we lived instead right about now–January is pretty slim pickings compared to, say, California.
And so: what do YOU eat in January?
Slow Food Northeast Regional Governor Rosemary Melli had this to say:
Here's what we do in the dreary New England winter, while we're dreaming of the first greens of spring:
- My friend who runs Eva's Garden here in So. Dartmouth, MA choppes up fresh parsnips, carrots, Macumber turnips, chick weed, parsley, and leek tops, which are still growing on the farm, and marinates with olio & balsamic for a salad course.
- I jar small, hot red peppers in olio & vinegar, then stuff them with whatever sparks my imagination - capers, anchovies, cheese, breadcrumb mixture, etc.
- I use good, polenta meal, cook it in the oven in stock til it's creamy, then use as a base for roasted root vegetables, stews, etc.
- Beans, beans, beans - must be fresh and cooked just right; combine with sauteed winter greens (kale, collard, mustard, swiss chard); seasoned with pancetta, bacon, proscuitto, sausages, etc.; add pastas and cheeses; combine as soups, ragouts, ragus, etc.
Posted on Thu, January 10, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Cerelle Centeno
A group of foodies in Columbia, SC is in the process of creating a Slow Food convivium. In an effort to spread the word and to begin hosting events, we held a turkey tasting on December 16. The mission of the tasting, presented to us by Emile DeFelice, owner of Caw Caw Creek Farm and Slow Food USA Ark of Taste committee member, was to evaluate a standard turkey compared to a heritage breed. Emile suggested we all bring a side dish made with local ingredients and the convivium-in-the-making's first event was born.
It's an interesting challenge having to evaluate the flavor of a turkey. To submit a heritage breed – in our case, the White Holland – onto the Ark of Taste we needed to report on aroma, appearance and flavor of skin and the flavor of both the dark and white meat. We compared all of these aspects to that of a "standard bird." Both birds were cooked with the same brining process. Here's a look at the two birds photographed by our Treasurer, Jennifer Sipala – the standard is the obviously plump one on the left and the heritage bird is the svelte one on the right.
What struck us was how we're so used to the taste of the standard bird that the "earthy" taste of the heritage breed was surprising. Furthermore, we were disappointed to learn that much of the "plumpness" of a standard bird is really just water. And you can see for yourself that the heritage bird looks more like a bird.
As for the local sides, we enjoyed a couple of turnip dishes, broccoli and of course, collard greens and Carolina gold rice (actually, rice pudding made with Carolina gold – delish!). It was a wonderful afternoon spent discussing turkey, the Columbia convivium and our favorite local restaurants. We encourage anyone living in or around the Columbia area to join us for future Slow Food functions!
Posted on Wed, January 09, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Leo Rodriguez
Trans fats: what Little Debbie snack cakes, French fries, and that delicious steak at Peter Luger all have in common.
Thanks to recent media attention, most people know that these harmful fats come from partially hydrogenated oils, but did you know that trans fats are also found in nature–specifically, in dairy products and some meat?
From this you might infer that Grandma's shortbread cookies are little
deathtraps, but natural trans fats are not necessarily identical to
industrial trans fats. Most researchers agree that our body probably handles them differently because we've been ingesting them for quite some time. Some think they might even be beneficial to us. Meaning, maybe you can enjoy that shortbread just a little more.
Though none of the research is conclusive, we get most of our trans fats
from fast and processed foods anyway. A tablespoon of butter, for example, has between 0.30 and 0.39 grams of trans fat. In 2006, an order of McDonald's French fries was found to have a whopping 8 grams, more than four times what experts recommend as a maximum.
Real food trumps laboratory potatoes. Again.
Posted on Tue, January 08, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
Slow Food USA members should have just received the issue 4 of The Snail for 2007. The theme of the issue is American Food Traditions; we asked some people to share with our readers their personal food heritage in a feature called "I Am What I Ate: Food from my childhood." Below, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini shares his own (non-American, of course!) childhood food tradition.
by Carlo Petrini
My family's origins lie somewhere between the working class and the middle class. Our food culture was first and foremost a product of subsistence, and my grandmother was its guardian. I remember afterschool snacks of soma d'aj, a slice of bread toasted on the stove, rubbed with a clove of garlic and sprinkled with a little salt and oil sprinkled on top. Few would probably dream of preparing such a thing for their children these days, but for me, it was a sort of "education in garlic," and I certainly don't regret it. Two other dishes that were important to my childhood are meat ravioli, made to last the week and totally sublime in the delicateness of the pasta sheets, and rolatine, strips of meat rolled up around a filling of egg, vegetables, cheese, and breadcrumbs, served with Piedmontese salsa verde. This last dish is hardly to be found any more, but when I'm able to find it, it never ceases to bring back a rush of memories.
If you would like to receive The Snail, Slow Food USA's quarterly magazine for members, click here.
Feel free to use the comments section to share your food heritage.
Posted on Mon, January 07, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
Grassroots International, a Boston-based organization that "supports the initiatives of peasants and family farmers, women and indigenous groups to protect human rights to land, water and food," has produced a primer on food sovereignty in partnership with Food and Water Watch.
Understanding that for many people food sovereignty can be a somewhat elusive term, they have produced "Towards a Green Food System," a report that explains the food sovereignty movement's natural alignment with the larger environmental sustainability movement, as well as with food-based movements such as Slow Food. It discusses the main conversational threads from the 2007 Forum for Food Sovereignty, laying out the stakes (the right to sustainably farmed land, the right of a community to control its own seed supply, the right to support small family farms), sharing specific examples from around the world, and making recommendations for individual involvement in the movement.
Posted on Fri, January 04, 2008 by Website Administrator
Always a source of the inside scoop on what's great in the restaurant world from local folk, Chowhound also has an active discussion board on all-around food topics. Just two days ago one poster named "frugalscot" posted this simple query:
WINTER SEASON ….a little more difficult.
What type of creative meal can you prepare utilizing only ingredients that are native to your area/region? A radius of say 25 miles from home. (Not written in stone)
As close to 100% local ingredients as possible, please
As of this writing it's received 55 responses. Great stuff posted there
Posted on Fri, January 04, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
Here in NYC from 1989 to 2000, we had a large billboard right near Times Square that was a "debt clock." Up top was a running tally of our national debt, and down below was a second digital clock–moving at a frighteningly fast pace–that showed each US citizen's portion of that dollar amount.
It was an amazing tool–a scare tactic, sure, but an unavoidable beacon, casting its beam of light on the country's increasingly debt-ful future.
Here's another clock for you; it has two parallel clocks, one of which shows the world population (guess what! it goes up really really fast), and the one below showing the amount of productive–i.e. arable– land (guess what! it goes down really really fast). There's power in seeing an inverse proportion move with that kind of speed–hard not to see what's coming.
Posted on Wed, January 02, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
Your first reading assignment for 2008, should you be looking for one: Michael Pollan's newest: In Defense of Food: an Eater's Manifesto. Pollan, a Slow Food USA Advisory Board member, felt compelled after The Omnivore's Dilemma to give his readers a how-to manual. In short: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. For the longer version (and a careful deconstruction of "nutritionism"), we recommend checking out this slim, jam-packed new volume.
For an excerpt of the book and an interview on NPR, click here.
For an extensive interview on Gourmet's website, click here.
You can also check out MP himself. His tour schedule for the months of January and February are as follows:
January 3: San Fran, City Arts and Lectures, 8 pm
January 7: Madison CT, RJ Julia Booksellers, 7 pm
January 8: NYC, 92nd Street Y, 8:15 pm
January 9: NYC, Barnes and Noble Bway and 82nd, 7 pm
January 10: Philly, White Dog Cafe, 8 am and Phila Free Library, 7 pm
January 11: Louisville, Kentucky Center, 6 pm
January 12: Cincinnatti, Joseph-Beth Bookseller, 1 pm
January 13: Iowa City, Prairie Lights, 2 pm
January 14: Milwaukee, Harry Schwartz Bookshop, 7 pm
January 15: Corte Madera, Book Passage, 7 pm
January 16: Capitola, Capitola Book Cafe, 7:30 pm
January 17: Santa Barbara, UCSB, 6 pm
January 20: San Fran, Grace Cathedral, 9:30 am
February 4: San Fran, Borders Books, 7 pm
February 7: San Fran, Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre, 7 pm (co-hosted by SF Solano)
February 11: Los Angeles, Public Library, 7 pm
February 12: Portland OR, Powell's, 7 pm
February 13: Seattle, Town Hall with Univ. Bookstore, 7:30 pm
February 14: Seattle, Cooks and Books, 6 pm & 8:30 pm
Posted on Fri, December 28, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
Calling all filmmakers!
The Media that Matters film festival– a program of short films that seek to engage viewers and "inspire them to action" — is seeking submissions. This annual festival begins with a launch in June that is followed by a year of screenings, DVD distribution, online viewing and national outreach. In 2006 they began doing FOCUS programs, including one on food politics called Media that Matters: Good Food. The shorts from the last edition are terrific, and this coming year, your food film could be in the mix.
The eighth annual Media that Matters Film Festival submission deadline is January 11, 2008. Details here.
Update: Extended Deadline announced by Media That Matters. "For those unable to make the January 11th deadline, the extended postmark deadline is January 18th. This is open to everyone, however the fee does increase by $5. To avoid the rush and the fee, get your films to us as soon as possible."
Next up after that is the official launch (after several trial years in Bra) of Slow Food on Film– "an international festival of cinema and food" to be held in Bologna from May 7 - 11, 2008. They are looking for shorts, docs, features and TV shows. The submission deadlines for entries is March 15, 2008–details can be found here.
Posted on Thu, December 27, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
Many of you probably carry your Seafood Watch cards in your wallet, for those moments at the fish market or in a restaurant when you're unsure what's sustainable.
For those of you without a card or without a wallet, let's say, here comes fishphone.org. Text 30644 with the message FISH and then a variety of fish, e.g.: "salmon." Fishphone will text you back immediately with a complete explanation of the fish and its warning level. It will even make suggestions for a more sustainable choice.
It's a smart little tool–for those of you with fast thumbs and a desire to go paperless, it might be your new best friend.