What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Tue, October 07, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA Intern, Cecilia Estreich
To open the recent panel discussion on MFK Fisher at the The New School, food historian Andrew F Smith noted that there are only two reactions to the renowned food writers work. First, there are the people who, after reading a sentence, devour everything the woman has ever written. Then, there are the ones who cannot make it through that same sentence no matter how doggedly they try. Since I finished my first MFK Fisher book, I have fallen devoutly, passionately (militantly?) into the former category. I would read a compilation of her grocery lists if only someone would publish it.
Until listening to the panelists at the New School, though, it had never occurred to me how forcefully her attitude towards gastronomy reflects the Slow Food mentality. Fishers observations and musings on the things she ate are always one part poetry and one part practicality.
Posted on Thu, July 10, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA staffer and blog editor, Jerusha Klemperer
Check out this thoughtful article from The American Conservative magazine. Its embrace of Slow Food may be surprising to some, but it's a welcome addition to the conversation.
It reminds me of a lunchtime visitor we had a few weeks ago, a farmer from South Carolina who noted that when it comes to Slow Food, conservatives and liberals may be on common ground. Everyone from homeschooling homesteaders to harvesting hippies can get behind good, clean food and the virtuous revival of sitting down together over a meal and appreciating its bounty.
Now some may flinch, like I did, when the author says that "life's inevitabilities don't warrant our shame," (when referring to Michael Pollan's shame that not everyone in this country has access to delicious food), and some may take issue, like I did, with his assertion that industrialized ag is just more productive than organic ag.* But it is interesting to see how true, traditional "conservatives" don't like the darn Farm Bill and its subsidies any more than the liberal democrats, and that they too would like to see a return to more mid-scale and regionally based food systems and economies.
Most delightful? The realization by an East Coaster like myself that in San Francisco, even the traditional conservatives have CSA shares, cook from The Art of Simple Food and quote Wendell Berry.
* Some may even want to share with him, say, Paul Roberts' The End of Food which explains quite clearly how those large yields end up producing diminishing returns after a few years.
Posted on Thu, June 19, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA intern Sara Hoffman
Yesterday in the New York Times, Dan Koeppel, the author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World (which will be reviewed in the upcoming Snail), published an opinion piece about the homogenization and industrialization of the banana.
It's a good reminder of the deceptive economic, social, and environmental toll of this recent staple of the American diet. For a more ethical alternative, check out Oké Banana, a group working towards fair trade bananas in the U.S.
Posted on Wed, April 30, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by SFUSA Program Director Makalé Faber Cullen
Industrial farming, which selects for shipability, is the cause of the loss of 93% of our food diversity. In contrast, over 500 RAFT market farmers in over 40 states took on our Grow Out Challenge and returned endangered varieties to their fields, sharing their bounties with chefs and neighbors, and with us.
For three years, small-scale farmers have been the backbone of RAFT.
With our encouragement and without it, farmers across the US have taken on the task of preserving our country's agricultural biodiversity. We celebrate the delicious successes of our country's forward-thinking farmers and chefs.
Editor's note: Nice coverage of the RAFT book also found on Ethicurean. Also, make sure to check out the comments section of the NY Times online version, directly following the article. Good stuff!
Posted on Mon, April 28, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
The New York Times has been running an excellent series of articles called "The Food Chain: A Moveable Feast," the latest of which ran this past Saturday. In the paper edition it was called "Would You Like Some Carbon with your Kiwi?" (um, no thank you), and it discusses the EU's plan to tax fuel for international freight. And so, the EU continues to be ahead of the curve (er, ahead of the US) in its commitment to reducing greenhouse gases.
Reading about the transfer of foodstuffs back and forth across the globe, we were reminded of a passage from Carlo Petrini's Slow Food Nation, called "Peppers and Tulips." He describes going to a favorite restaurant in Asti, in 1996, and being saddened to discover that his usual dish–peperonata made with the local peppers of Asti–no longer had its wonderful flavor. When he asked the chef about this difference, the chef reported that nobody in Asti was growing these peppers anymore because it was cheaper to import them from Holland.
Driving home, despondent, Carlo passed some greenhouses, the very greenhouses that likely used to grow peppers. Going inside to talk to the farmer, he asked what was now growing there. The answer?
"'Tulip bulbs! And after we've grown the bulbs, we send them to Holland where they bring them into bloom!'"
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 Wed, December 26, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
This time last year, The New York Times Food Section remarked on 2006 as one in which everyone was talking about the politics of food. How about 2007? What are the pundits saying?
Over at Grist, we've got the top green food stories of 2007.
And at chow.com, a multi-faceted, very comprehensive Year in Food.
Check out the Philly Inquirer for 2007's buzzwords; alas, no Slow Food, but unfortunately yes to food on speed dial.
Reuters' round-up of top health issues in 2007 were 90% food stories. If the connection has not been clear before, here it is, writ simply and large: "Food=health."
Any other roundups you've seen?
Posted on Fri, December 14, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
Nothing slow about running around like a (heritage, free-range) chicken with your head cut off looking for last minute gift ideas. Our intern Leo has a nice, short list of "Sustainable Santa" ideas over on the Slow Food on Campus blog, and right here, a few more ideas.
Books: Check out Jeff Roberts' Atlas of American Artisan Cheese, the first comprehensive guide to the artisan cheese movement. Or an oldie but goodie, Gary Nabhan's Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods.
Food: Consider ordering something from Native Harvest, the online catalogue of the White Earth Land Recovery Project in Minnesota. Here you can buy an assortment of Manoomin Wild rice products, in addition to coffee, honeys, hominy, and more.
Magazine: Order someone a subscription to GOOD, "the magazine for people who give a damn." When you order, the entirety of your subscription money goes to one of the 12 selected charity partners–and you get to choose which one! Guess who is one of the 12 partners this year…? Slow Food USA.
Posted on Sat, December 08, 2007 by Website Administrator
A kindred spirit in Southwestern Ontario named John Miedema has a blog called Slow Reading. There he mentions his affection for Slow Food and local eating, based around a wonderful book called The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating
It was the kind of meal that, when the plates were clean, led some to dark corners to sleep with the hushing of the wind, and others to drink mulled wine until our voices had climbed an octave and finally deepened, in the small hours, into whispers.
I am just finishing The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Smith & MacKinnon (2007). The couple tells of their year of eating food only grown within a hundred miles of their home. I'll be reviewing it here soon. The quote above is about the meal that inspired the effort. The 100-Mile Diet is not so different from the Slow Food movement that encourages local cooking and eating. There is something about slow food that satisfies on multiple levels.
He has a cool graph too (really). Check it out here.
Posted on Sun, August 26, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
In her latest blog, Suzi Steffen poses this rhetorical gem: Is eating local even possible?
Eating local — goat cheese from the farmers' market or eggs from my friends' chickens, vegetables and fruit as abundant as weeds — is easy right now in Oregon's fertile Willamette Valley. But I want to stay as local as possible in the winter. And that desire has turned me into an ant, the workhorse of food procuring — I don't even have time to read for pleasure anymore, except when I'm walking to the farmers' market.
It's a good question really, and one that we preachers of the Slow gospel need to be able to answer readily. What I usually say is that of course it is, because that's what humans have done for the entirety of their existence, save roughly the last 80 years or so. But Steffen too recognizes the lesson taught by Barbara Kingsolver in her current book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:
As Kingsolver says, "Eating locally in the winter is easy. But the time to think about that would be in August." So it is.
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.