What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Fri, November 16, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA intern Samantha Taylor
With plans for this gastronome's favorite holiday beckoning just around the corner like an intimidating heap of rich, succulent and often stress-inducing delicacies, I am truly thankful for what the holiday is really about: the food. All uncomfortably inebriated family members, bland green-bean casseroles and football distractions aside, Turkey Day is a chance to gorge ourselves on a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of every comfort food Americans are proud to call their own, and if there is a way to feast free of the stress, guilt and anxiety typically served alongside, while keeping it slow, by golly I'll find it.
With that in mind, here are some tips for extracting all of the convivial wonder at the heart of the meal and none of the trimmings:
1. Shop Early, Sleep Easy: Find yourself cursing the solitary bag of cranberries left on the grocery store shelf come Wednesday night? Take advantage of your local weekend farmers' market and load up on the bounty of root vegetables so at home on a Thanksgiving table. Perusing the stands and sharing free range turkey-basting secrets is a pleasant (and conscientious) substitution for the chaos of the supermarket.
2. Ditch the Archetypal Meal: First time playing chef and hostess for the family? Rather than trying to live up to the yams of those who've come before you, manipulate the main characters of the meal with surprise combinations and novel cooking methods. Instead of a tart, runny cranberry sauce, try a buttery tart crust filled with cranberries, and a hint of orange zest. Fill your stuffing (the ultimate canvas) with your favorite tids and bits, sausage, chestnuts, apples, whatever strikes your fancy. With innovative sides your guests will be too busy praising your ingenuity to bicker.
3. Don't Fight the Urge to go Potluck: The vast array and magnitude of Thanksgiving classics is too much for almost anyone (save Ms. Stewart) to bear alone. Not to mention, potlucks are a fabulous way for all your near and dears to showcase their mothers' famous fillintheblank. Delegate a food group to each dinner guest, provide the ambiance, some good wine, the turkey, and a choice few accoutrements. Then sit back and let the eclectic meal (served family-style) be filled with quirky childhood memories and the host (that's you) with inner peace.
Posted on Sat, November 10, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
With Thanksgiving almost upon us, many of us are trying to avoid buying a flavorless supermarket turkey and are wondering: where in the world can I find a heritage turkey? Some of you might even be asking: what is a heritage turkey?
For more information on the definition of heritage turkeys and guidance on where to find them, check out our Take Action page.
Since 2002, the market for heritage turkeys has approximately doubled annually, based on reports from producers and distributors in the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy network. This is in large part thanks to Slow Food Members who have showed increased support of heritage turkeys as well as the farmers who raise them.
Posted on Tue, October 30, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
We are lucky enough to have Poppy Tooker as one of our leaders and one of the vibrant and dynamic faces of Slow Food USA. Poppy, a New Orleanian, is the Chair of Ark of Taste Committee, and in addition to helping select which endangered foods make it onto the "Ark," she is an expert in putting together delicious and educational dinners that incorporate foods from the list into the meal.
On Sunday, October 21st, a crowd of over 50 people came together at the Astor Center, in New York City, to celebrate the Ark of Taste, support the upcoming event Slow Food Nation, and watch Poppy Tooker's pilot television show, "Eat It To Save It."
The menu – lovingly prepared by Culinary Corp alumni chefs – included a plethora of Ark foods from Wild Caught Louisiana Shrimp, Wild Catfish and Pineywoods Cattle to numerous Ark tomatoes, Newtown Pippin Apples and Dry Monterey Jack Cheese.
Guests were treated to a screening of the pilot episode of Poppy's television series, which champions Louisiana food producers and traditions. Before tasting the wild catfish served Joey Fonseca style, attendees got to watch Joey on the screen showing Poppy how to catch and cook this delicious wild fish.
Thanks to all who came out, and here's hoping you get to see Poppy's show on a TV screen near you!
Posted on Mon, October 29, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Jennifer M. Hall
SFUSA Ark Committee
When the RAFT (Renewing America's Food Traditions) project offered seeds last winter, I was faced with decisions. What to grow? Trim the list from 40 dreams to 20 realities. Tomatillos leapt off the list in the top five. Always a fan of green salsa and pork chili verde, I had plans for these fruit known historically as the Zuni Tomatillo and now on the Ark as the New Mexico Native Tomatillo (NMNT).
My boyfriend and I nurtured the starts along under the basement grow lights and put them in the ground at the first opportunity. Spokane, WA has very desert-like conditions with dry air, hot days and cooler nights, so I was hopeful they would do well. They quickly proved they need their "own space." I staked and tied mine like a tomato plant; Eric did not and they swarmed some other rows.
The early yellow blossoms gave way to countless husk-encased fruits. Mine grew fairly tall and brought a little romance to my back patio, looking like a tree dotted with hundreds of Chinese lanterns. Compared to a more mainstream variety, the NMNT tapers more to the bottom point of the husk.
Harvest time shows the real commitment in a tomatillo grower, particularly this kind. Lots of little fruit (on average, the diameter of a nickel), somewhat unwieldy bush, not very well-known, what will it taste like? Some of Eric's will make great compost, but overall I was proud of what we picked and honestly glad we didn't plant more!
So was it worth it? Cooked down into a sauce over wild salmon, pickled with peppers and in salsa, the flavor proved tremendous! In side-by-side tastings with a larger purple tomatillo and the Aunt Molly's ground cherry that our convivia members also grew, the NMNT was a big winner. Big aroma and almost a melony fruit flavor. Definitely earning its space on the Ark and definitely earning another go in my garden next year.
Posted on Wed, October 03, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
On Sept 15 and 16, the US Ark-Presidia Committee (APC) members from around the country came together in Madison, WI to review, taste and board new foods to the Ark of Taste.
The Ark of Taste is a metaphorical craft designed to save –much like Noah, who saved breeds from extinction during the flood–endangered tastes and to celebrate them, by introducing them to the membership and then to the world, through media, public relations, and Slow Food events.
A wide range of flavors were celebrated in this year's nominations, from the Early Blood Turnip-rooted beet and Roy's Calais flint corn, to the Cotton Patch goose and Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter tomato.
Though the majority of Ark foods are boarded during the committee's yearly face-to-face meeting, nominations are reviewed and boarded throughout the year. Check out the Ark of Taste criteria and nomination form to learn more.
This year, the APC welcomed four new members: Arie McFarlen, Elissa Rubin-Mahon, Jennifer Hall and Emile DeFelice. You can read about them and their passion for Slow Food and the Ark of Taste: just click here!
Posted on Wed, September 26, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
In the 2 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Slow Food leader/enthusiast/activist Poppy Tooker has been fighting hard to revive New Orleans food communities. One such community is the East New Orleans Vietnamese community, that is home to an outstanding farmers' market that is held at the crack of dawn every Saturday morning. Instrumental in the rebuilding of this market has been Father Vien thé Nguyen, who is the pastor of Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church there.
In April of 2007, at a Vietnamese brunch, Poppy presented the church with $5,000 from Slow Food USA's Terra Madre Relief Fund, to go towards rebuilding the market and community garden there. Click here to watch a short video of the brunch, which includes some great footage of delicious, homemade Vietnamese food.
Also interesting: from the Southern Foodways Alliance website, an interview with Peter Nguyen, the manager of the community garden and farmers' market.
Posted on Mon, September 24, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
Any regular frequenter of restaurants knows that the fish we eat are subject to trends. For stretches of time certain fish will be "go-to" foods, and then suddenly they're gone, replaced by something else. One day "Chilean Sea Bass" (actually Patagonian Toothfish, a less sexy name) started appearing on menus. And less than 10 years later, many chefs banded together to take it OFF their menus since it had been overfished, practically into extinction.
Once upon a time, people ubiquitously ate canned sardines. By the 1950's, they had been replaced by canned tuna. What ever happened to sardines?
In his article in the Atlantic Monthly, Slow Food advisory board member Corby Kummer goes in search of fresh sardines, and does taste tests of canned ones. He explores the demise of sardine populations and the resulting shuttering of cannery row in Monterey.
The article is interesting on many fronts. As we study and fret about the collapse of bee populations, maybe there is a lesson here in population ebbs and flows? Also good for chefs to think about reintroducing sardines onto menus–the populations are healthy again, and need not only be used as food for larger fish, such as tuna. Kummer argues for their health benefits, sustainability, and ultimately, deliciousness. A perfect slow food…
Posted on Thu, August 23, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
Such food luminaries (and friends of Slow Food) as Rich Pirog, Arlin Wasserman and Gary Paul Nabhan explain how and why Terroir is important in this August 22nd Washington Post article
…Wasserman has a growing roster of clients, from General Mills to a co-op of Amish goat and lamb farmers, as well as a group of Minnesota artisans with a line of charcuterie, preserves and wild rice dishes in the works. Similar projects are taking shape across the country. On Lummi Island, off the coast of Washington, salmon fishermen have formed a co-op to sell local sockeye salmon caught in reef nets, a traditional Native American method. Researchers in Iowa have done feasibility studies on bringing back the Muscatine melon (see "Certified Levels of Terroir," Page F6 [requires free registration to view]), a variety of cantaloupe that owes its juicy fragrance to the sandy soil on the banks of the Mississippi, and I-80 beef, ultra-marbled steaks from the northwest corner of the state.
I found it intriguing that General Mills is one of his clients. These are signs of real progress, when Slow Food's ideas make their way into the mainstream. We will not achieve a food system that is Good, Clean and Fair by demolishing the current system, but rather by transforming it. Every time they acknowledge the value of our ideas we must not feel threatened but rather say to them, "welcome to a better way."--------
Slow Food International also runs a publishing company, Slow Food Editore, which specializes in tourism, food and wine. The library now contains about 40 titles and houses Slow, the award-winning quarterly herald of taste and culture, available in five languages: Italian, English, French, German and Spanish.