What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Mon, January 28, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
Today is the final day to submit your comments to the USDA regarding their proposed label standard for meat as "naturally raised." We've all been marveling for a long time now at the emptiness of a phrase like "natural." When informed shoppers see that on food packaging they know that by this point it pretty much means nothing: a big zero.
The USDA label promises to be similarly hollow, referring only to the animals being hormone and antibiotic free. So, I guess if you think it's "natural" for animals to be industrially farmed, then great! If not, please take the next few hours to register your disapproval.
Please Note: All Comments Must Reference "Docket No. LS-07-16" by writing at the top of the letter or email "Re: Docket No. LS-07-16"
Posted on Wed, January 16, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
Continuing our winter eats series, we asked a few more Slow Food folks what they eat in January.
Slow Food NYC leader and NY/NJ Regional Governor Ed Yowell had this to say:
A few years ago I began to look forward to the winter disappearance of leafy salad alternatives. It only took dedication to my local, northeast food shed and a little creativity. Some "what and hows" are offered in "The Leafless Season" a piece I wrote back then.
Slow Food USA staff member Cecily Upton shares her passionate winter feelings for pork:
I like pork, a lot. Too much, some might say. For example, my recent birthday party involved friends and family chowing down on 3+ lbs of BBQ at Brooklyn's own Fette Sau. And even though the Year of the Pig is coming to an end, I'm already planning a summer pig roast in my new backyard.
That said, in the winter months, when there are no fresh berries or tomatoes beckoning to me from the Greenmarket, and when I can barely recognize my farmers under their layers of wool, I find solace in pork.
Last night I whipped up an easy dish, perfect for chilly, wet evenings - pork loin with a Curry/Mustard/Honey/Lemon rub/glaze and some sauteed beet greens. The whole meal took about 20 minutes to prepare. The recipe is a riff off of one of Mark Bittman's, my go-to for quick, easy, and delicious.
Mix 2tbsp. curry powder with 2 tbsp. dijon (or other gourmet) mustard. Add 1 tbsp. (or so) honey (mine came from my mom's hives in southern Maine), and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Season the mixture with some fresh cracked pepper and salt and rub generously over 1 lb. of pork loin (though most any cut will do). Broil for 10-15 minutes until center of meat is just pink.
While the meat is broiling, chop up those beet greens you reserved after making borscht the other night. Saute them for 5 or so minutes in olive oil. Season to taste.
Once the meat is finished cooking, remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Remove from your broiling dish, reserving any excess rub (as it is great to use for leftover pork sandwiches). Slice thinly and serve. Dish out your beet greens and serve plain or with a side of garlic aioli.
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 Wed, December 19, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
As our weather becomes more and more extreme, it seems that it's a story of droughts and floods, droughts and floods. When farmers get hit by these weather events, it can be devastating.
The floods that hit the Pacific Northwest on December 1st hit farmers and cheesemakers in the Portland region hard. The Black Sheep Creamery near Chehalis lost two-thirds of its herd and sustained devastating damage to the creamery, barns, and house. See below for articles about farmers in need and avenues through which one can help–some are best suited to local residents, of course. Thanks to Carol Havens, Jean Rogers and the Port Townsend Cooperative for compiling these resources.
Local Farmers Need Help!
Olympia Food Co-op - All farmers who supply the co-op
3111 Pacific Ave. SE Olympia, WA
or call Grace at (360) 357-1106 for information.
Olympia Farmers Market
700 Capitol Way S Olympia, WA 98501
or call: (360) 352-9096
or donate online at: www.olympiafarmersmarket.com
Neighborhood Farmers Market Association Good Farmer Fund - For growers who sell at Seattle markets.
Mail checks to: 4519 ∏ University Way NE #200, Seattle, WA 98105
Tilth Producers of Washington - For organic sustainable farmers within the Tilth Producers community.
Mail checks to: PO Box 85056, Seattle, WA 98145
Or donate online at: www.networkforgood.org
Karen Kerr, Adna Grange - Direct assistance and food for Adna area farms and families (not limited to farms) Accepting gift, debit and diesel gas cards with a set cash amount and financial donations.
PO Box #63
Adna, WA 98522
Full Circle Farm - For direct donations to farms, contact Lizzie. You can make a donation via Ace Hardware in Adna or Sears in Chehalis and Lizzie will pick up and deliver items to farms: (work gloves, extension cords, respirators, etc.)
Washington Farm Bureau Flood Relief - Lewis County farmers primarily.
PO Box 8690, Lacey, WA 98509
pledge form online at: www.wsfb.com
or call (800) 331-3276 to donate over the phone via credit/debit
Art Wedig Relief Fund - For any Washington Farmers that are with the company Organic Valley.
Art Wedig Relief Fund, c/o Organic Valley, 1 Organic Way, LaFarge, WI 54639
or call: 1.888.444.6455
Posted on Fri, November 30, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
The holidays have become a time when many people do their yearly community service, and often that service comes in the form of food. At a time when many are stuffing their faces with turkey and Christmas pudding and latkes, etc., it's hard not to think about people who not only don't have food, but don't have people to eat it with. As a chef, Slow Food member, or food enthusiast (or all three) working in soup kitchens and the like is a logical way to give back to the community during the holidays. Why not use what you know/love?
Recently, we here in the National office had the opportunity to meet someone who has created a way to do good with food, and not just at the holidays. Christine Carroll went to New Orleans on a 2006 Henckels Cutting Edge scholarship attending the Share Our Strength conference in New Orleans. There she found a rich culinary heritage and a community in need. But why go there and paint houses (etc.) she wondered, when her real skills lay in the kitchen?
As a result, she founded Culinary Corps, which brings groups of culinary students and professionals to NOLA to do food-centered volunteer projects. As she explains, "Culinary Corps provides team members with an opportunity to transform their kitchen skills and passion for food into community outreach tools." As we write, Christine is in on the Gulf Coast with a group of culinary professionals, on the fourth trip she's led this year, where she and her trip members will be slicing and dicing to help out a local farmers' market and a local church.
Because doing good once a year is a nice start, but year-round is better…
Posted on Mon, November 19, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
If you would like to support the small grower (yes, please), and voice your frustration with legislation that seems to miss the point (yup, count me in), please consider registering your comments on a mandatory leafy green Marketing Order with the USDA.
Background: over a year ago, news of E-coli- infected spinach rocked the nation. For those of us who favor small-scale local agriculture, it affirmed our beliefs and practices, and renewed, perhaps, our commitment to support small growers. In response to the outbreaks, the state of California passed voluntary growing standards for leafy greens. While these were intended to protect consumers, they were a response to the problems of big-ag that put small ag's head in a vise.
While this is for right now a California issue, California may just be the template for naionwide legislation. CAFF (Community Alliance with Family Farmers) has been fighting this issue both in-state and on the national level (thanks to them, Senator Feinstein withdrew a proposed amendment to the Farm Bill), and is leading the call for comments.
For CAFF's September press release, click here.
For CAFF's Judith Redmond's Op-Ed in the Sacramento Bee, click here.
For more information on this issue, click here.
For more information on the Federal Marketing Agreement, click here.
To register your comments with the USDA, click here.
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 Wed, November 14, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
"The politics of food have changed, and probably for good," said Michael Pollan in his NY Times Op-Ed last week. He ended his frustrated death-knell-for-a-Farm-Bill-we-can-be-proud-of piece on this hopeful note.
The Food and Farm Bill (up for vote on the Senate floor this week) will most certainly not show the massive changes we all hoped and fought for. Commodity subsidies? Still there. Though Tom Philpott over at Grist questions them as the ultimate evil. He calls them the symptom of the problem, not the cause. The real problem, says Philpott, is overproduction. Check out the above link to see his article and the extensive debate that follows in the comments section.
There are some programs being written in and voted on–good programs supporting food stamps and wetlands preservation, and small amounts of money to specialty crops. Whether or not they are merely "fleas on the elephant in the room," as Pollan calls them, used to buy off critics, they might be the best thing we have to speak up for at this point. So use these final important moments to call your senators and speak your mind.
For Food Security updates, click here
For Nutrition updates, click here
For Conservation and Energy priorities, click here.
Posted on Fri, September 21, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
While some may wax nostalgic over the peculiar texture found only in the salisbury steak of our formative years, two self-proclaimed "angry" moms are doing more than their part to save the school lunch from its current state of despair. After being banned from her daughter's school cafeteria, where the only fresh, whole foods were found in home-packed, insulated totes, Susan Rubin and her pal Amy Kalafa embarked on a mission to educate and inspire those who remain at the frontline of the school food crisis: the moms. They have used film as their medium (a hybrid expose/how-to) to look inside the perilous system and highlight the potential positive ripple-effect that only a home-grown, truly reformed, nutritious school food menu could have. While the film is temporarily caught in distribution deals, the moms encourage all who support the fight for a "slow" school menu and healthier kids to host a screening in their community, getting folks appropriately "angry" and inspired for change.
Details on the message and the movement, along with great resources to get started on your own uprising can be found on their website.
For a concise assessment of the dismal school lunch situation and how it got that way, see Tom Philpott's article in Grist.
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.