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Slow Food: Skate Fast, Eat Slow

timv's picture

I heard a reference to "the Slow Food movement" today. I did some Googling and reading and it turns out to be pretty neat.

Founded in 1986, in direct response to the opening of a McDonald's restaurant in Rome's famous Piazza di Spagna, the Slow Food Manifesto declares that:
A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life.

The Wikipedia article on the topic refers to it as "as the 'culinary wing' of the anti-globalization movement." Its projects include the "Ark of Taste," an effort to protect biodiversity and to "rediscover, catalog, describe and publicize forgotten flavors" threatened by industrialization, standardization, foods laws, and large-scale distribution. The above article describes Slow Food thus:

If the French attitude toward globalization is symbolized by farm activist José Bové driving a tractor into a McDonald's, Italy's subtler and more peaceful attitude is embodied in this quirky and intelligent movement, which has taken up the defense of the purple asparagus of Albenga, the black celery of Trevi, the Vesuvian apricot, the long-tailed sheep of Laticauda, a succulent Sienese pig renowned in the courts of medieval Tuscany and a host of endangered handmade cheeses and salamis known now only to a handful of old farmers.

In an interview with Patrick Martins, head of Slow Food USA, he comments:

We live in a very puritanical society here in the US, and pleasure is something to be avoided. And we're saying that it's OK to enjoy things. In fact, all of the foods we promote taste good. We really believe in promoting local, great-tasting foods. So we're a very positive organization. We don't believe in being dire, like many environmentalists. We believe that in order to be an eco-gastronome in the twenty-first century, you have to have respect for where your food comes from, but you also have to enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, then what's the point?

The organization now claims over 80,000 members worldwide with more than 800 local chapters ("convivia") including one in the Triad NC area. Supporting area restaurants include the Green Valley Grill at the O. Henry Hotel (sister institution to skater-favorite Lucky 32) and over closer to my neighborhood, Bistro Sofia.

A nice twist on the idea from the Vancouver area is--since Slow Food puts emphasis on eating food grown in your local area--the Slow Food Cycle Sunday ride to go see where their food comes from. I've been thinking it would be interesting to try to combine cycling and food more. That seems to be a nice angle.


eebee's picture

Slow food and funny French names

"José Bové" ?! That may be another one of those funny French activist names, like that guy Dégonflé ("Deflated") who went around Paris letting out the air in SUV tires.  Love it! Driving a tractor into McDonald's.  


Talking of rethinking one's diet and palette, I'll be interested in some of those places you mentioned, Tim, as I embark on a new wacko nutjob 'diet' to try to cure my current digestive ailments. But more on that later.


A slow food skride sounds like a good idea.  


From http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1010-04.htm an exerpt about the SUV deflaters....


Published on Monday, October 10, 2005 by the Los Angeles Times
SUV Drivers in Paris Get Wind Knocked Out of Them

A clandestine group lets air out of tires as a form of protest. The vehicles' owners are not amused.
by Sebastian Rotella

PARIS - If the French marauders known as The Deflated waged their brand of urban subversion in Southern California, the mecca of the sport utility vehicle, by now they would probably have been jailed, beaten, shot or at least sued.


But five weeks after the clandestine crew of environmentalists launched a low-intensity war on SUVs in Paris, there are no casualties to report. Except, of course, for dozens of deflated gas-guzzling vehicles, said Sous-Adjudant Marrant (Sub-Warrant Officer Joker), the mysterious, masked leader of Les Dégonflés.


Under cover of night, Marrant's troops target Jeep Cherokees, Porsche Cayennes and other four-wheel-drive vehicles parked on the tree-lined avenues and cobblestoned lanes of wealthy neighborhoods. The eco-guerrillas deflate tires without damaging them, smear doors with mud and paste handbills on windshields proclaiming that the vehicles are dangerous, polluting behemoths that do not belong in the city.


"We use the mud to say that if the owners will not take the four-wheel-drives to the countryside, we will bring the countryside to the four-wheel-drives," said Marrant, 28, who uses an alias because angry drivers deluge his website, http://degonfle.blogg.org with e-mails threatening mayhem and questioning his manhood.


Although his nom de guerre was inspired by Subcommander Marcos, the masked Mexican guerrilla revered by leftists, Marrant insists he is not violent or even particularly serious. "Deflated" is a self-deprecating name that also means "coward" in French. The group wants to send a mischievous message while avoiding damage to the vehicles, injury and prosecution, the thin, mop-haired activist said during an interview in a corner cafe on the Seine's left bank, longtime turf of radicals and revolutionaries.


"We emphasize the comic, the burlesque side," Marrant said with the earnest, wide-eyed look of a prankster trying to keep a straight face. "It would be hard to take us to court. We don't slash tires, we deflate them. Air doesn't cost anything. As for getting cars dirty, that's nothing. I would plead guilty to that. Our rules are to never run from the police. And always run from the owners."


The rise of anti-SUV activism in France shows that one man's vandal can be another man's avenger. The deflators are on the fringe of a movement that has considerable support at City Hall, which is governed by an alliance of the Socialist and Green parties.


Christophe Delabre, the president of a French association of SUV owners, has appeared in a television debate with Marrant, who wore sunglasses, a baseball cap and a bandanna to conceal his identity. Delabre does not find his adversary amusing.


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