Slow and Steady – The Fight for Good, Clean and Fair Food
by Mariyah Gonzales
Born and nurtured under the sign of Industrialization, this century first invented the machine and then modeled its lifestyle after it. Speed became our shackles. We fell prey to the same virus: ‘the fast life’ that fractures our customs and assails us even in our own homes, forcing us to ingest “fast- food”.
Homo sapiens must regain wisdom and liberate itself from the ‘velocity’ that is propelling it on the road to extinction. Let us defend ourselves against the universal madness of ‘the fast life’ with tranquil material pleasure. Against those – or, rather, the vast majority – who confuse efficiency with frenzy, we propose the vaccine of an adequate portion of sensual gourmandise pleasures, to be taken with slow and prolonged enjoyment.
Appropriately, we will start in the kitchen, with Slow Food. To escape the tediousness of “fast-food”, let us rediscover the rich varieties and aromas of local cuisines. In the name of productivity, the ‘fast life’ has changed our lifestyle and now threatens our environment and our land (and city) scapes. Slow Food is the alternative, the avant-garde’s riposte.
Real culture is here to be found. First of all, we can begin by cultivating taste, rather than impoverishing it, by stimulating progress, by encouraging international exchange programs, by endorsing worthwhile projects, by advocating historical food culture and by defending old-fashioned food traditions.
Slow Food assures us of a better quality lifestyle. With a snail purposely chosen as its patron and symbol, it is an idea and a way of life that needs much sure but steady support.
Portinari’s Slow Food Manifesto
Slow Food offers a sustainable and viable alternative to the current food system in place. The movement calls for a rediscovery of traditional and regional cuisines, a remembrance of vibrant history and culture and a re-cultivation of taste and pleasure in food. Gastronomy and ecology intersect in its mission, advocating that eating good, clean and fair will defend human health and well-being and protect biodiversity. By good food, it means food that is respectful and committed to nature, flavour and quality. By clean food, it means food that is natural and committed to ecological awareness. By fair food, it means food that is ethical and committed to social justice as well as economic sustainability. Essentially, Slow Food is about commitment, both to the Earth and to one other. We are responsible participants in our food system with the ability to shift power and create change with our personal decisions. What we choose to eat can and will transform lives.
Slow food was first a passion ignited in the small Italian city of Bra by young, left-wing idealists, Carlo Petrini, Azio Citi and Giovanni Ravinale in response to the threat of a McDonalds opening at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome in 1986. Today, it has grown into this incredible community widespread across 120 countries with over 1 300 convivia (local chapters). Each convivium responsibly exploring their own local secrets and providing the platform for small-scale farmers, specialty producers, grandparents and youth with a chance to reclaim the food they make and eat. Pleasure is defended as a universal right, not just for those who can afford quality or flavour. The fight is for food sovereignty not just security. It is not enough to simply feed people but what they eat and how they feel about eating it is equally as important.
Slow Food is a deliciously complex response to globalization, one that prioritizes the preservation of culture and believes it to be imperative in the solution against poverty, obesity and ecological destruction. Ultimately, Slow Food means slow down. The alternative system calls for resistance from fast living altogether and refuses to believe that speed equates to progress. Faster is not inherently stronger or better and the glorification of ‘busy’ must end.
For further information on Slow Food check out their website at www.slowfood.com and discover the slow efforts of your own convivium.
For reading on Slow Food in the Philippines, pick up a copy of Slow Food, Philippine Culinary Traditions curated by Erlinda E. Panlilio and Felice P. Sta. Maria at your local bookstore. While you’re there, you may as well pick up a copy of Claude Tayag’s culinary journal Food Tour for an illustrated adventure through Philippine food festivals and traditions.