Monday, September 1, 2008

The Slow Food Movement

I have become "boring" like my parents. *sigh* It happens to the best of us, I suppose. Yes, its true, I too have fallen victim to listening to, and usually thoroughly enjoying, talk radio. As a kid, I remember being on long car rides, half asleep in the back seat, listening to talk radio drone on, and on, and oooonnnn. I never understood a thing it they were talking about on there, and couldn't understand why my parents enjoyed it so much. Now, as an intelligent, rather cerebral adult who enjoys a good debate topic, I understand the appeal. It gets you thinking about things you wouldn't otherwise think about.

As many of you are aware, I am really on this "getting back to my hippie roots," organic foods, home-grown stuff, save the environment, reduce landfill waste, etc., etc. kick lately. It may be partially my upbringing, partially the fact that being "green" is the new fad (or so I have read), the fact that I find corporate, mainstream America somewhat corrupt and want to buck the system.... But whatever the reason(s), I am intrigued by anything that brings us back to the heart of health and tradition.

One topic on talk radio late last night (we were driving home from my sister-in-law's house 2 1/2 hours away), was a concept called the Slow Food Movement. If you have never heard of it, I would encourage you to read about it. Its quite interesting. The basis of the Slow Food Movement is to counteract the Fast Food Movement that has taken over our American culture and diet, and the preservation of traditions such as family dinners, homegrowing veggies and fruits, farmer's markets, etc. Its everything I am about right now.

Oddly enough, on the way to my sister-in-law's yesterday, hours before listening to the radio show, I brought up this very concept. (I feel so smart! Hahaha) I pointed out to Jeremy that you never see an overweight Mennonite -- ever! I am sure there are a few out there, but all the Mennonites I have ever seen have been pretty much stick thin. My theory? Its all about their values and food practices. Mennonites will occasionally shop at mainstream grocery stores, but they are essentially self-sustaining people. They grow their own produce, they raise and slaughter their own animals (and they cook and use pretty much the entire animal - there is no wasting of the entrails and organs), they bake their own breads, they cook their own meals. There is none of the modern-day packaged foods and franchises leaking into their culture or food supply. They sit down to eat together as a family or a whole community, they share their abundance. Now I am not proposing we all become Mennonites, but there is certainly a lot we can learn from them about food, and the byproducts thereof of stronger family and community values. And its really not hard to do, its just a matter of effort.

Baking your own bread takes nothing more than a bread machine, flour and a minimal amount of other ingredients that most people keep on hand, and about 5 minutes to dump the ingredients in and press the start button on the machine. Even a full-time working individual could do this, either the night before or morning of.

Making a home cooked meal in a pinch requires nothing more than a crockpot and some simple ingredients. (Watch the sodium and fat though - anything out of a can will be loaded, and most recipes call for canned foods.) Dump it all in the crockpot, press low, and walk out the door.

The core of the Slow Food Movement is to override todays fast food culture with a renewed sense of health, family, and community. It was mentioned - and wouldn't this be an amazing feat! - that if everyone started eating more "slow food" and less fast food and processed meals, that potentially we could wipe out a lot of the fast food all over the world. Other countries may deny it, but anything America does, eventually seeps its way into other countries and cultures. We Americans began the fast food craze, now its our obligation to undo the damage its caused, both within our own borders (two words: obesity epidemic), and beyond. We have made our own people unhealthy, and now that influence is leaking into other countries. We should be ashamed!

I love the concept of this movement, and while most of the things mentioned are things I already do, it has only further educated and motivated me to do more. Its not just about me and my family - its about all of us. (Oh wow, that sounded corny, but you get my point.)

....Just some (dare I say it) food for thought.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Yes, I am on the same kick as you I think!

I do so much now at home (gardening, baking my own breads, etc) and Im always coming up with more things we (or I) can do to slow things down around here. Coincidentally, I shop at the Minnonite farms that are located all around me and when I cant get what I need out of my own garden, theirs come in super handy.

I am not doing this as a new fad thing or to be trendy. Im doing it because I can. I work at home and I think that if people would slow down some, they'd realize that you can MAKE time for things. They just choose not to.