Saturday, June 18, 2011

Carlo Petrini and the 'Slow Food Nation'

"...We're at this absurd point where underwear costs more than food....Lets give ourselves more value than our clothes"

- Carlo Petrini
Don’t freak out friends. I’m not joining the ranks of females who lust after geriatrics. I know this is under my hunky chefs so this might inspire some confusion as to why exactly Mr. Petrini is posted along side the tattooed, lust inducing few chefs that I have on this blog. Its to teach you about the wonder and joy of food. I know that not everyone is like me. Not everyone feels the same rush of endorphins when tasting a first press of black truffle olive oil drizzled tossed over a bowl of hot fresh (not dried) noddles dressed with freshly grated parmesan topped with a sprinkle of roughly chopped Italian leaf parsley. But Carlo Petrini does. Not only does he understand the deep joy and love that comes with food but he is indigent by the recent shift in culture and how food lust for a hamburger from McDonalds has taken over the food lust for a slice of cured prosciutto on freshly baked crostini layered with a farm fresh chuck of goat cheese drizzled with local honey topped with a fig still warm from the sun. Close your eyes (well, read the rest of this sentence and then close your eyes) and picture the last fast food that you ate. What were you doing? Rushing to get someplace? Trying to get a bite in? Too tired to cook for the night? I bet dollars to pine nuts the memory is in flashes, that instead of remembering the food, you remember the place you were trying to get to. Or the fatigue that you felt.

Now picture the last really good, sit down meal that you had.

I bet you not only remember the food, but you remember the people as well. Instead of a fuzzy memory, the colors, the people the scents the smells the taste can all come into sharp focus. This...this moment is what pure, delicious, organic food is all about. A slow blend of food, nutrition, scent, sound, taste and emotion is what food should be all about. Food has started to become the simple act of fuel and even worse, its really shitty fuel. You wouldn't put gas in your car that is full of fillers would you? Why would you put fuel in your body that full of chemicals and fillers. Mr. Petrini explains the quest to slow down much more eloquently than I ever could....

"The quest for slowness, which begins as a simple rebellion against the impoverishment of taste in our lives, makes it possible to rediscover taste. By living slowly , you understand other things, too; by slowing down in comparison to the world, you soon come into contact with what the world regards as its "dumps" of knowledge, which have been deemed slow and therefore marginalized. By exploring the "margins" of slowness, you encounter those pockets of supposedly "minor" culture that are alive in the memories of old people, typical of civilizations that have not yet become frantic—traditions that guide the vital work of good, clean, and fair producers and that are handed down after centuries of empiricism and practical skill.
In coming into contact with this "slow" world, you feel a new (or renewed) relish for life, you sense the potential of different methods and forms of knowledge as counterweights to the direction currently being imparted to the tiller that steers our route toward the future. You reassess the elements of consumer culture, and in rural knowledge, you discover surprisingly simple solutions to problems which speed has made complex and apparently insoluble."

Do you see? Do you understand now? It's not simply just choosing a food, its deciding to make an effort to be conscious in your life. Stop being a fast food person. Stop living for tomorrow, fully embrace what is front of you today. Choose to see moments in color, not the chemical fueled uninspired sludge that you carry through your life. Food should be a passionate experience. Even the lunch that you eat at your desk during a busy day. I can tell you for a fact that when I take the time Sunday night to plan and make my meals for the week, my lunch fills me emotionally as well as well as nourishes me. By having fresh vegetables and organic meat with an explosion of taste afternoon will be much more alive than if I had gone to the local fast food joint instead. Now, I'm not hatin' on fast food. I have been known to drive through a hamburger joint to get a quick fix. But my snobbish ways make me pick In-and-Out over McDonalds.
If your still not convinced or at least curious about the passion that can be inspired in your own life consider this that Mr. Petiri remarked on in a recent conference addressing his 'Slow Food' movement. A recent news article compared oil and olive oil that has been hand harvested that was a first press. Both were the same cost but people complained about the price of the olive oil. If you don't know the benefits of olive oil you must research it. We also remark that cell phones are not expensive, we justify the price of Seven jeans, we justify the cost of our new car, we justify the cost of Tiffany's jewelry, we justify that the underwear by Armini but when it comes to our food, we remark that one zucchini costs too much that tomatoes cost too much.... that instead of the chemical free, lovingly grown, fresh, asparagus .... we'll buy the canned veg-all.


"Slow food unites the pleasure of of food with responsability, sustaniablity and harmony with nature"

-Carlos Petrini

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