What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Mon, April 04, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Proceeds from McSweeney’s quirky first cookbook will benefit Slow Food USA.
by Lindsay Dula
You might know McSweeney’s as a clever, thoughtful, and often funny literary journal. It’s also a small publishing house that has launched a food imprint. First dish up? A new book called Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant. It promises to be a fun and interesting combination of cookbook and food-related essays. Here’s how the publisher, McSweeney’s, describes it:
Mission Street Food is a restaurant. But it’s also a charitable organization, a taco truck, a burger stand, and a clubhouse for inventive cooks tucked inside an unassuming Chinese take-out place. In all its various incarnations, it upends traditional restaurant conventions, in search of moral and culinary satisfaction.
Like Mission Street Food itself, this book is more than one thing: it’s a cookbook featuring step-by-step photography and sly commentary, but it’s also the memoir of a madcap project that redefined the authors’ marriage and a city’s food scene. Along with stories and recipes, you’ll find an idealistic business plan, a cheeky manifesto, and thoughtful essays on issues ranging from food pantries to fried chicken. Plus, a comic.
We are happy to announce that proceeds from every sale of this book will go directly to Slow Food USA, with our organization receiving $10 for every $30 pre-order of Mission Street Food—but only pre-orders through the McSweeney’s store. After the publication date in July, we will receive $5 per book ordered through McSweeney’s and $1 per book purchased indirectly.
Pre-order your copy of Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant though McSweeney’s and support Slow Food USA’s efforts toward good, clean and fair food.
The authors describe the reasons for this decision on their blog; you can read it by clicking here.
Posted on Sat, February 12, 2011 by Gordon Jenkins
Watch the live steam of the TedX Manhattan event, where over 20 high-profile speakers, including Slow Food USA’s President Josh Viertel, are discussing how we can improve food and farming for everyone.
Looking for the live steam of the TedX Manhattan event, “Changing the Way We Eat”? Watch it here:
Posted on Sat, September 25, 2010 by Gordon Jenkins
On September 25, thousands of people participated in “Dig In,” a national day of action to connect to our food and farmers. Where did you dig in?
Today, thousands of people across the country broke ground together at local gardens, farms and community events, and then broke bread together to celebrate. It was all part of “Dig In,” a national day of action to connect to our food and farmers. Check out the photos here.
Where did you “Dig In” on September 25?
This blog post is open thread – share comments and stories from your event below.
Posted on Fri, September 24, 2010 by Gordon Jenkins
Tomorrow, thousands of Slow Food members across the country are digging into gardens, farms, and community events – and then breaking bread to celebrate!
Tomorrow’s the big day.
Tomorrow in Columbia, Missouri, the local Slow Food chapter is building a greenhouse for an elementary school to kick off their “Harvest-of-the-Month” program. Tomorrow in Salt Lake City, Slow Food members are teaching cooking classes and stirring up support for healthier school lunches. And in New York City tomorrow (which is where I’ll be), we’re painting murals and building compost bins for an “Urban-Style Barn Raising.”
All over the country, Slow Food members are gathering for “Dig In,” a national day of action to connect people to where their food comes from (and have a great time while doing it). There’s probably something happening near you – click here to find out.
Posted on Thu, September 02, 2010 by Slow Food USA
Thanks to a program hosted by the Milagro Allegro Community Garden in Highland Park, Los Angeles, we now have proof that nutrition education helps kids stay healthy.
Thanks to a program hosted by the Milagro Allegro Community Garden in Highland Park, Los Angeles, we now have proof that nutrition education helps kids stay healthy. The program, called L.A. Sprouts, is one of the nation’s first research studies to measure and demonstrate the health benefits of youth focused long-term nutrition, cooking and gardening programs.
The after school course consisted of twelve weekly classes for fourth and fifth graders from a local school. Each meeting included a healthy cooking lesson followed by a gardening session with a master gardener. Workshop leaders demonstrated new recipes to the students weekly and, working together in groups of five, the students then prepared the meal themselves. As part of the program, the students regularly visited a local farmers market and received a voucher to buy a fruit or a vegetable to take home.
With the goal of converting learning into action, the L.A. Sprouts project focuses on making eating healthier a family affair by sharing information about recipes and farmers’ markets with the parents of participating children. The result? Workshop leaders found that children and families did make changes to their eating habits as a result of participating in this project.
“L.A. Sprouts participants had increased preference for vegetable intake, specifically carrots and nopales, and increased self-efficacy for cooking and gardening compared to control students, ” said one of the project organizers, Emily Ventura, PhD, MPH, University of Southern California.
Using cookware donated by Anolon, through a partnership with Slow Food USA, L.A. Sprouts students gained hands-on experience making complete and healthy meals like quesadillas with greens, quinoa salad with kale and winter squash, and whole-wheat pasta with vegetable ragout. L.A. Sprouts was organized by the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Posted on Thu, August 12, 2010 by Slow Food USA
A Slow Food USA member writes about her experience teaching kids to garden as a means of diabetes prevention.
By Rebecca Kline, Slow Food USA member and part of the Fair Haven Community Health Center‘s Diabetes Prevention Program
|The Diabetes Prevention Program is a family-based initiative. Participants often bring their children to the work (play) alongside them in the garden!|
I pause my assault on the weeds to watch Mercedes who, in quiet opposition, folds her weeds into a baggie laced to her hip. She explains that in a tea, these leaves suppress nausea. Mercedes’ knowledge of the medicinal uses of plants is vast, even on soil 3,000 miles from her native Mexico. Ironically, her diet, consisting of affordable bodega-bought goods: $1/1 can soup or $2/50 corn tortillas, etc., has devastated her health.
Later that morning, as we take a well-deserved water break, Lucy tells me why she is participating in the Diabetes Prevention Program’s Lifestyle Intervention. Tears plow through the sweat and dirt that cover her face, almost in preparation for the story. When diabetes claimed all of her mother’s ten toes, Lucy’s interest in living diminished. She shut herself up, drew the curtains, and decided to be sad. It was easy for her to gain weight. Before long, Lucy’s health lined up perfectly with that of her mother’s.
If they do nothing to interrupt its development, Mercedes and Lucy will both have diabetes within ten years. They are two of an approximately 57 million people (or one in four above 20 years old) in the United States whose elevated blood glucose levels constitute a significant risk for developing the disease (US Department of Health and Human Services).
Mercedes and Lucy are also two of 155 Hispanic women who have participated in a 12-week intensive Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Intervention (LI) run by the Fair Haven Community Health Center. This program was initially supported by the Connecticut Health Foundation and is now part of a larger research evaluation in partnership with Yale Center for Clinical Investigation and funded by the Donaghue Foundation. It is modeled after the National Institute for Health (NIH) groundbreaking clinical research study that proved that “millions of high-risk people can delay or avoid developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat and calories.” According to the study, individuals with pre-diabetes can reduce their risk of going on to develop diabetes by 58% with a modest 5-7% weight loss. The clinicians at the Fair Haven Community Health Center modified the NIH’s lifestyle intervention program to meet the needs of their predominantly Hispanic population in New Haven, Connecticut, where they discovered that an astonishing 40% of Latina women have pre-diabetes.
Posted on Mon, July 19, 2010 by Slow Food USA
Slow Food Indy comes together to support a farm family after a tragedy.
By Corrie Quinn, member of Slow Food Indianapolis
“Happy is said to be the family which can eat onions together. They are, for the time being, separate from the world.” - Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, 1871
Folks with a thumb any shade of green can guess that farming is risky business: betting on the weather and against pests, doubling down on a chef’s preference and nearly folding when endless days in the field culminate with working weekends at the market. We might say farmers eat onions together. They bare the bitter risk to provide us with sweet, secure sustenance.
In central Indiana, we’ve been painfully reminded of our producers’ risky profession as the news spreads of a tragic accident in the fields of Seldom Seen Farm.
Every day, John Ferree and his wife Kelly Funk bring their one-year-old daughter Laila to the fields that John’s family has been tilling for generations. While neither John nor Kelly grew up farming, they’ve been deeply committed to their work since starting the farm in 2004 and have been providing several Hoosier communities with good, clean, and fair food ever since. The couple hosts Slow Food Indy events and represented central Indiana at Slow Food’s Terra Madre festival in 2008.
Two weeks ago, Kelly and John waited in their barn for a storm to pass. The sky was clearing up so they went back to work in the field where Kelly was picking onions. She was struck by lightning and her heart stopped until her husband John administered CPR. Today, Kelly is in critical but stable condition; she is still unconscious while doctors begin to administer tests and discuss Kelly’s future with her family.
Posted on Fri, July 16, 2010 by Slow Food USA
An update on the school lunch bill in the House of Representatives.
Yesterday, the House Committee on Education and Labor, which is tasked with updating the National School Lunch Program, finally passed its Child Nutrition bill (H.R. 5504) by a bipartisan vote of 32 to 13. The bill proposes to establish healthier nutrition standards for school meals, to kick junk food out of school vending machines, and to help schools connect with local farms and plant school gardens. It would also provide a very modest increase (six cents) to the funding schools receive to serve each lunch ($2.68, about a dollar of which goes to ingredients).
While we’re glad to see progress being made, six cents isn’t going to transform a program that’s failing to serve healthy food in the midst of a child obesity crisis.
The Senate Agriculture Committee passed a similar Child Nutrition bill in March. Now that both bills are out of committee, we’re waiting on Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule both the bills for floor debate and pass them as quickly as possible. Child Nutrition programs were supposed to be updated last year, and are currently on a one-year temporary extension. The current legislation expires on September 30, so if House and Senate leaders don’t move quickly, we may see another one-year delay – which means another year of neglecting the health of America’s children.
Posted on Mon, July 12, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
by intern Shauna Nep
What does it take to bring real change to the food system? Does change start with the American public and the grassroots? Does change rest with the farmers who grow our food? To get where we want to be we need the support of both, and so it is important to understand the concerns of both. What are Americans most concerned about? What are farmers looking for in farm policy reform? Are there areas of common ground between Big Ag and the American people?
A national opinion survey [registration required to access] found that Americans are most concerned with how agriculture and food relates to health, rating issues of obesity, antibiotic resistance, and diet-related diabetes to be the most serious. Americans were less concerned with food being imported from abroad, most food being produced by big corporations, and feeding cows corn instead of grass.
When asked about approaches to reforming farm policy, Americans strongly supported expanding incentives to farmers who reduce pollution, and providing incentives to farmers who grow fruits and vegetables. Reducing subsidies to Big Ag got the least support.
And the farmers?
Posted on Fri, July 02, 2010 by Slow Food USA
by Julia Landau
Some foods you can just feel. Maybe your fingers automatically prepare it, maybe your eyes jump straight to the choice ingredient at the market, maybe you smell it from light years away. Point being – it’s not a science but a feeling and for many, not a recipe but a ritual.
Such seems to be the basis of the foods prepared in Breaking Bread: Recipes and Stories from Immigrant Kitchens, a collection gathered and narrated by Lynne Christy Anderson. In the homes, markets, and kitchens of 25 immigrants, Anderson is afforded a privileged view of international eats and personal histories as people prepare a familiar dish. Family tips abound. Memories flow. Frustrations seep out. But measurements are in short supply.
The cooks in this collection hail from far and wide, yet share a key element: a feel for the food. Certainly, they provide Anderson with approximations, and create steps resembling a recipe, but I have a hunch that it’s mostly to humor the eager reader like myself. In their narratives, it’s clear that memories about and associations with the food drive its preparation more than any measuring cup.
The cooks add flour until the dough gets that feel, they mash potatoes until they shouldn’t be mashed anymore, they pat out tortillas until they’re just thin enough. They take cues based on experiences and anecdotes, and their foods are born from visions of their homes both past and present.
Now this is my kind of cookbook. These people and foods have stories, and I find myself considering how I might remember my aunt’s fried okra and collard greens when reproducing memories of home. Yes, when reading Breaking Bread the anxious cook in me wonders if I have a prayer of knowing when the tortilla is “just thin enough.” But then, I take a moment to relax: recipes travel and evolve, as do we. We develop our feel for food every time we cook, wherever we are.
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.