What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Thu, July 09, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
Amy McCoy likes to keep up with food and sustainability news. And she should as the blogger of Pour Girl Gourmet and the leader of Slow Food Rhode Island, she keeps up with the local and national scene of the food movement. Amy created an account with Twitter a few months ago, and through the service, she recently found out about a recipe contest sponsored by Regionalbest.com. The contest, Asparagus Lovers Unite for Obama! searched for the best asparagus recipe in America and was designed as a fun way to support the Obamas efforts to get more green into the White House. They contest also tried to help President Obama discover new ways to enjoy asparagus. (you may find asparagus growing in the White House garden, but you wont find it on the Presidents plate).
Amys Pancetta, Asparagus and Sundried Tomato Sandwich was not only proclaimed as the best sandwich of his life by Amys husband, but it also won RegionalBest.coms Grand Prize in May. Her recipe and seven regional recipes will be sent to the White House with hopes of convincing the president to give asparagus another chance. Amy found out that she won the contest through a notice on Twitter, and since then she has been enjoying the grand prize winnings - delicacies sent to her by RegionalBest.com.
When shes not tending to her vegetable garden or planning projects for her local chapter, Amy is developing recipes for her forthcoming cookbook, a collection of recipes for 4 people that cost $15 or less. Amys recipes focus on seasonal ingredients and items found at the supermarket, and her goal is to de-mystify cooking and help make it a fun and low-cost activity.
The Challenge is keeping it to $15 without having so many stipulations, such as cutting coupons, or time-intensive activities such as making your own beans, Amy said. She experiments with vegetables on a daily basis, and recently learned from a neighbor that its okay to eat the leaves of nasturtium flowers, and she made a delicious pesto using them. Her book, tentatively titled The Poor Girl Gourmet Cookbook, will be published next year.
Amy is following Slow Food USA on Twitter. You can too! Click here.
Posted on Fri, June 26, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
Part of what I love about “food books” as a genre is that the phrase is entirely non-specific, and covers everything from poetry to science, from art to history, from memoir to fiction. Today, some more summer reading suggestions, both about our broken food system, but very different from each other.
First, Robyn O’Brien‘s theUnhealthy Truth: How Our Food is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It
. Her book is a good companion piece to “Food, Inc.” I think, exploring how food is making our kids sick, and how big business is profiting from that, all from a Mom’s first-hand perspective. As she explains it, pretty plain and simple: “the recent deregulation of the American food system allowed chemicals and additives into the American food supply that have either been banned or labeled from foods around the world in order to enhance profitability for the food industry.” Click here to read an excellent interview with her on Civil Eats.
Next up, a book I had the pleasure of getting to hear read aloud live (ok, well, parts of it) by the author the other night. Lisa Hamilton, a photographer and writer has crafted a beautiful triptych—three stories, three farmers, and how they are struggling to keep their way of farming alive in a world pushing towards the industrialization of damn near everything.Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness
is clearly the work of a seasoned photographer; it reads like a giant photograph, with depth of field, and texture, and life bubbling up off the page.
Posted on Thu, June 04, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
One of the great advents of the past few years has been “The Food Issue.” I’ve really enjoyed seeing magazines like The Nation, The New York Times, Yes magazine, Mother Jones, and The New Yorker devote an entire issue to stories around food. The Atlantic Monthly upped the ante by creating an entire website for food stories. I mean, it’s a pretty lefty bunch, but I guess that’s not a huge surprise.
Now we’ve got Slate’s food issue, with a few choice nuggets including Tom Laskawy’s piece on how Mother Nature’s gonna bite big Ag in the butt, and a review of Mark Kurlansky’s new bookThe Food of a Younger Land, about America Eats, the 1930s Federal Writers Project, and how it created a new genre: food writing. Reading this piece, I thought—this would be a great partner book for Jane and Michael Stern’s new book 500 Things to Eat Before They’re Gone
! Turns out the folks at the San Francisco Chronicle are more clever than I and they had the Sterns review the book just last week. They had issues with it—mostly that they are more hopeful than Kurlansky about the state of American food.
No doubt the Sterns will be roadtripping this summer. I hope I get to roadtrip too, but I’ll also be reading—probably their book, probably Kurlansky’s. What will you be reading this summer?
Posted on Wed, April 08, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
Once raised by small-scale family farmers and bred for hardiness, survivability and FLAVOR, many heritage breeds have been lost to mass-market industrialization. Our RAFT alliance partner, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, is leading the way to bring these rare, diverse breeds back to US farms and tables.
Rare breeds have unique qualities that make them suitable to small farm pastures. That also means they need special (or at least different) treatment in the kitchen. Just like were learning that we cant prepare a grass-fed burger like a grain-fed one, we cant prepare a Pineywoods steak like an Angus, or roast a Buckeye chicken like an industrial one.
How do we learn what to do? Before you start raiding the shelves of used bookstores looking for pre-1950s cookbooks, ALBC is coming to the rescue later this year with a Rare Breeds Recipe Book. They are creating the book by hosting a rare breeds recipe contest.
Are you already familiar with cooking a particular rare breed? From now until September 1, you can submit recipes to ALBC. The first place winner will receive a free registration to their national conference this November in Houston. To learn more about the contest, click here.
Posted on Tue, March 24, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
Today I’m interviewing Poppy Tooker. Poppy is the founder of Slow Food New Orleans, a chef, a food activist, the chair emeritus of Slow Food USAs Ark of Taste Committee, and the author of the just-released Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook
among other things. I mean, what hasn’t this woman done?
The book is self-published by marketumbrella.org, an independent New Orleans-based non-profit that brings vendors and shoppers together to preserve local culture, generate wealth and support the local economy, with its central axis being the Crescent City Farmers Market. When you buy your copy of the book from marketumbrella.org, not only will 100% of net proceeds go to benefit the work of marketumbrella.org; in addition, you can request that Poppy personalize your book with a message!
Q: Reading the cookbook, I was struck that what you have there in New Orleans is not just a market, but a community built around food. Can you tell us a bit about that community, and how it came to be?
Tooker: People in New Orleans truly live to eat. When visitors come to the city they find that hard to believe…Ive had people say that they just stand still on a street corner and listen to the conversations of people as they walk by and what they are all talking about is food. As arguably the greatest food city in the US, it goes hand in hand that we would also care about where our food comes from.
Richard McCarthy [Executive Director of marketumbrella.org] knew that we needed a real food market that could create a real sense of community, more than a place to just buy food. We created guidelines that in order to be part of our market, you have to produce the food that you bring, and we only sell food at our market. The farmers from the Northshore were very suspicious about coming across the lake, but Richard sweet-talked them and that is how our little food community began.
Posted on Mon, March 09, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
From time to time we get requests from people for a Slow Food reading list. In the days before the blog, there was the Slow Food Forum, and on it lived an evolving document to this effect. We’ve decided to compile a new list by asking some of our staff, Board of Directors, Advisory Board and friends: what inspired you to get involved in sustainable food? What inspires you still. Below are some of their answers.
Josh Viertel, President of Slow Food USAAn Agricultural Testament
, by Sir Albert HowardThe New Organic Grower
, by Eliot ColemanMalabar Farm and Pleasant Valley
, by Louis BromfieldEpitaph for a Peach
(and others), by David Mas Masumoto
The Unsettling of America
, by Wendell BerrySmall is Beautiful
, by EF SchumacherEcological Literacy
, by David Orr
I read all of these during my junior and senior years of college when I first realized I wanted to learn about how food was raised and how it could be raised differently. They all blew my mind, opened me up to the connections between food and the environment and between food and politics and gave me solid grounding for discussing these issues, even though all the books are a decade or more old.
Posted on Fri, January 30, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA staffer Jerusha Klemperer
We may think of NYCs iconic foods like knishes and egg creams (and diner pancakes) as fixed, but this collection of essays makes the case for the ability of each individual, each immigrant wave to leave its imprint on the ever-evolving foodscape of this city. In fact, the archaeological remains of old New Amsterdam itself reveal how shifting ecology, shifting economy, and shifting populations can change the course of eating history and culture.
Hauck-Lawson and Deutsch have put together a collection that ranges in tone and approach, from Jessica Harris story of her personal food heritage to a history of the streets peddlers and markets to an examination of Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights and its array of Central and South American cuisine. But it does not attempt to capture everything. The authors acknowledge the impossibility of that, instead presenting what they call noshes, little bits that ultimately fill you up as richly as a big meal.
I would say that this book would be great required reading, especially for new New Yorkers, Hauck-Lawson said, as an accessible source of New York City food history and foodways and out of a measure of respect for the privilege of being a New Yorker.
Posted on Mon, December 29, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
If it helps, please insert
a) a drumroll
b) a celebrity reading the list straight to camera
c) a lot of enthusiasm, as indicated by the proliferation of exclamation points (!)
10) A New Office: The SFUSA staff enjoyed a move down two flights into a space double the size of our old one. Although we miss tripping over each other, we’re sure happy about having more room. Stop by and say hello if you’re ever in Brooklyn.
9) A New Baby: Finance Manager Kehinde Yeku welcomed the birth of her baby girl Ebu last May!
8) New States in the Union: Our first ever chapter in West Virginia.
7) Two Staff Weddings: Deena Goldman in June and Erika Lesser in November!
6) A New National Statute: This year, with the help of chapter leaders from around the country, we revised our national statute. It’s leaner, cleaner, and clearer.
5) Terra Madre: For the third biennial small-scale sustainable food producers conference, we brought over 700 US delegates with us, including a huge number under the age of 30.
4) A New Book: The publication of here for an article about in in the New York Times.
3) Can’t stop growing: 8,000 new members!
2) A New President: Nope, we’re not talking about Obama, we’re talking about Josh Viertel, Slow Food USA’s first ever President!
and the number 1 highlight of 2008…...
1) Slow Food Nation: Slow Food’s first US-based national scale event. With everything from sustainable street food to a victory garden on San Francisco’s Civic Center steps to star-studded discussion panels, Slow Food Nation brought San Franciscans—and the country—together in a conversation about the future of our food system. The event, our first annual, attracted over 85,000 people over the course of three days.
Posted on Tue, December 23, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
It’s a little late in the game for buying holiday gifts, but hey, you’re slowwwwww and slow’s a good thing, right?
If you left your shopping for the last minute, and are feeling a little bit nervous and a lot uninspired, we’re here to offer some delicious, nutritious, (not that ambitious) sustainable gifts for you. Most of them won’t arrive in time, but you can give your loved ones an IOU that promises good things to come.
Happy and Healthy Holidays from your friends at Slow Food USA!
Posted on Fri, November 21, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
A year ago, investor Woody Taschs book Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money
might have seemed way out there; slow money? Isnt that like a slow racecar or a slow rocket? An oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp? Suddenly, with Wall Street in shambles (the victim of too much too fast), Taschs vision for a more patient and holistic investment philosophy that values relationships (between people and other people, between people and the natural world) doesnt seem so strange after all.
I sat down with Tasch and asked him to explain a bit more about his book.
Q: In the book you say Slow Food gives us a way to engage that is proactive, even celebratory. What does celebratory investing look like?
Tasch: Lets just say that when that answer is clear to the world then…it will be a beautiful thing! Its funny you should ask that because I just shared a day dream with a bunch of investors in Vermont, that at the end of a Slow Money investors conference we would all be dancing together in the aisles like attendees were at the end of Terra Madre.
Right now there is no such thing as celebratory investing; theres no such thing as investors sharing the joy of building something together and celebrating community like Amish people building a barn. May of us are, in fact, building a new, restorative economy, one bit at a time but we dont know how to celebrate the process. No, celebratory investing is still a ways off in the distance.
Q: You discuss the economic terms internal and external accounting, with external accounting being that which takes into account multiple stakeholders and qualitative distinctions. Do you think that now, after the collapse of our financial system that investors are finally ready/willing to look at external accounting?
Tasch: The whole question of externalities, it is both aspirational and pragmatic, meaning there are a whole bunch of people right now who have been working on statistically relevant, defensible metrics that can add social and environmental metrics to financial metrics. I consider this very important incremental change, but its only incremental because where were trying to get to is an economy where investors are close enough to that which they are investing in that they can make qualitative judgments about it. If you were living down the street, in enough proximity to that which you were investing in, or even just knew enough about that which you were investing in, if you knew the managers of the business personally and trusted their values completely, you wouldnt need to rely solely on quantitative metrics.
Where we need to head is away from bigger and bigger and more and more complicated enterprises, to an economy that celebratestheres that word againenterprises that are smaller, less centralized, more comprehensible. We need to return to a world where people make qualitative judgments and arent afraid to.
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.