Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Slow Food Lifestyle by Vito De Carolis

The "Slow Food” association was founded in 1986, and I immediately gave it my support, as it corresponds exactly to my own philosophy of life.  After all these years, I have now become a “Slow Life Member"; card number ITLIFE000325. The fact that I am also a Partner with Avanti Savoia Imports makes it natural for me to commit myself to assisting "SLOW FOOD USA" to grow and spread this way of life in the United States. For those unfamiliar with the philosophy of "Slow Food", here are the main points of this lifestyle:

  • Conserve biodiversity

  • Protect the environment

  • Encourage and practice sustainable agriculture

  • Protect small producers and their communities

  • Enhance the gastronomic traditions around the world.

The main purpose of the association is to educate consumers to the meaning of real culinary quality.  In the process, it is hoped that consumers will learn to recognize, enjoy and celebrate the differences between the foods of various cultures. In studying the culture of food, the Slow Food objective is to save biodiversity and the food traditions of each country.  Consumers come to value natural products, thus ensuring a relationship between these products and the environment. Within the tradition of Slow Food, food is recognized as a source of pleasure and as such must be tasted calmly and shared with others. In contrast to the bustle of modern society, Slow Food encourages a slower paced lifestyle, a pace of life that allows you to freely indulge in the pleasures of the palate. Living "at slow speed" means preferring slow and sometimes elaborate food preparations.  The intention is to live in harmony with nature and with other people.

The objective is to recover food flavors and quality from an earlier time and a way of life now lost. Becoming a conscious consumer means, for Slow Food members, to be happier, at peace with oneself and others and to live in modern society without becoming “standardized”!

Certainly the concept of slow food, emphasizing the importance of the environment and natural foods is a healthier way of life. Eating well and consuming moderate amounts helps the body stay in shape. It is no coincidence that the association was literally conceived with the aim to oppose the fashion of "fast food”.

United States Slow Food Presidia

“The Presidia program is coordinated by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, which organizes and funds projects that defend our world’s heritage of agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions.
Loosely translated into “garrison,” Slow Food Presidia (Presidium, singular) are local projects that work to improve the infrastructure of artisan food production. The goals of the Presidia are to guarantee a viable future for traditional foods by stabilizing production techniques, establishing stringent production standards, and promoting local consumption.”

“Sometimes, it takes just a little to save an artisan food; it's enough to bring together producers, help them coordinate marketing and promotion, and establish quality and authenticity standards for their product. Other times, when the production of an artisan food is closer to the brink, it takes more: building a slaughterhouse, an oven, or reconstructing crumbling farmhouse walls. Slow Food Presidia work in different ways, but the goals remain constant: to promote artisan products; to stabilize production techniques; to establish stringent production standards and, above all, to guarantee a viable future for traditional foods.”

“The Presidia sustain quality production at risk of extinction, protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties.”

American Raw Milk Cheeses
Over the past 25 years, American cheese makers have developed extraordinary handcrafted raw milk cheeses that highlight the unique flavors of the land, soil and climate where they originate. Often invented or based loosely on existing cheeses, American raw milk cheeses are as unique as the cheese makers themselves and they reflect as much about the cheese maker’s persona as they do their terroir.

Wild rice - Anishinaabeg Manoomin
In the month of September, the indigenous North American Anishinaabeg people (also known as Ojibwa) begin the rice harvest. During each of the thirty days of Manoominike-Giizis (Wild Rice Moon) harvesters head out in canoes to harvest wild rice from the smooth surface of lakes with names like Blackbird, Big, Pigeon, and, naturally, Rice Lake.

Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple
The climate of Sonoma County, in California, is ideal for growing the Gravenstein apple which is ‘venerated’ by the inhabitants of Sebastopol, who name streets, festivals and schools after it and hold a parade every year to celebrate the flowering of the apple trees. The apple has a sweet and tart flavor and a greenish-yellow skin with red striations.

Cape May Oyster
The American East Coast Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) of the Delaware Bay was one of the most prized and highly sought after oysters in the world. Its succulent flavor, reminiscent of the salty sea, made it a favorite of seafood lovers all over the United States and trainloads of freshly harvested oysters made their way daily all across the country to cities like Kansas City and San Francisco. In nearby Philadelphia, the Delaware oyster had been a prized delicacy since Colonial times and ubiquitous sellers crowded the narrow, oyster shell-paved streets, offering raw oysters, oyster stew, and brined or fried oysters to passers by.

Makah Ozette Potato
In the 1980’s an unknown fingerling potato was recognized to be a staple in the diet of Pacific Coast Native Americans of the Makah Nation. The Makah occupy the region around Neah Bay, Washington, that is the most northwesterly point in the lower forty eight states. Tribal lore reported that this potato had been used by these people for about 200 years. The Makah had named this potato the Ozette after one of their five villages located around Neah Bay.

Navajo-Churro Sheep
The hardy Churro sheep breed—with its multi-colored double fleece—was brought by the Spaniards to Mexico by 1540, and reached overland to northern New Mexico by 1598. For over four hundred years, this multi-purpose breed has adapted to the arid conditions of the sagebrush steppe and pinyon-juniper pygmy woodlands of the mesas, buttes and desert canyons of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

 " Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are" =  Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755 – 1826)