The New York Times presented a rather edgy piece about the Slow Food community. I’ve never had a good grasp on what this whole "slow food" thing was about. Is it braised cuts of meat that take a long time to cook, uh yeah, sometimes. Or is it food that takes a lot of care, time and patience to grow, well yeah, sometimes this too. With the attachment of Alice Waters name to Slow Food USA ideas like organic, locally produced, and heritage came into play. What it all adds up to me in the end...
Two quotes from the article sum it up best:
"When it first took root here in 1998, some people were drawn to its philosophy, while others were put off by what they saw as elitism and an inflated sense of importance."
And Mr. Petrini, founder of Slow foods self described philosophy of Slow Food as being, "food is much more than cooking and eating."
It is a very pretty picture to draw. One where a utopia of unselfish people grow and distribute high quality food products all produced in a natural healthy way where no one under cuts the prices of the other, or sprays dangerous herbicides to get a better yield, or injects their livestock with an assortment of antibiotics and growth hormone in an effort to get a better yield, get a better price, make more money. Get Real!
Sure if you can afford it, you can paint any picture you want, not only with your food. For instance a Slow Bathing group might arise with a philosophy that, "showering is much more than soaping up and rinsing off." In both cases the average person can strongly disagree with those philosophies and ponder what kind of chicken, or what kind of shower head his minimum wage job can afford him. I’m guessing this average Joe doesn’t have enough dough to wax philosophy about lives basic necessities.
While I do feel that in my personal life, with my chosen career path that food has the potential to be more than a means of sustenance. I also understand that this is not something most people can afford, or appreciate on a daily basis. I hate the idea of factory farms, chickens on top of chickens on top of chickens, yuck! But I don’t see how every child in the public school system can have a chicken lunch without this ugliness. Go ahead and ask yourself, are you willing to pay twice as much taxes so that all those kids can have organic chicken instead? I think not.
While I see the Slow Food philosophy as relevant, I’ve yet to see the movement as much more than an elitist group of food connoisseurs with an inflated sense of importance. It’s something they are trying to change as the NYT explains, but they have a lot of work to do.