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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Slow Food..Slow Living & a Sunflower Field

Guest Author: Daniel Dorr
copyright 2010, art of living,PrimaMedia,Inc

Imagine sitting down to dinner in the warm Mediterranean air around a table with your extended family for hours, as the sun is setting on a filed of  sunflowers  A waiter comes to fill your already stained red wine glasses, while an accordion player is sounding their last heart throbbing note. This picturesque moment may seem dream-like, but it doesn’t have to be if you know where to go while travelling the Italian Peninsula.

The international Slow Food Movement was started in Italy to preserve this type of dining experience. Since then its recognition has spanned around the globe, and their establishments have even started to arrive in metropolitan areas of the US. Mediterranean life is described as being a much more laid back style of living compared to most Western societies. The organization’s intent was to protect Italy’s dining habits from expanding Western companies, such as McDonalds. To embody their message protestors armed with penne pasta pelted the first Roman fast-food establishment showing their disapproval. Now if you’re not feeling as radical as these food lovers, you can align yourself with their cause by enjoying a meal at a Slow Food restaurant.

The Slow Food manifesto was written to preserve the traditional values of Italian dining – urging people to literally slow down their lifestyles. Who wouldn’t love for your boss to say, ‘take two hours for lunch and relax about that up-coming deadline’? Founder Carlo Petrirni suggests in the official statement, “suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency.” It is a proven anthropological fact that the best time of the day to create meaningful conversation is during a shared meal. Slow Food advocates are intending to prove this.

As well as creating a stimulating, relaxing environment for people to dine they are also very concerned with the type of foods they serve. Slow Food advocates are highly concerned that while food species have begun to be homogenized by agribusinesses that their local strains of vegetables and produce will be left extinct. In order to combat this, slow food restaurateurs have established relationships with environmentally conscious farmers (who use neither pesticides nor growth hormones), also trying to maintain their foot holes in the local produce market.

It’s all too easy while travelling in a new country, or any new place for that matter to fall back into your normal eating habits. You can “grab a quick bite” anywhere in the world, but to really experience a foreign land you must eat like an Egyptian – or however that old saying goes. No matter how many tourist attractions you see you can never really get a feel for a new culture without indulging in local cuisine and restaurants. One of the most prominent restaurateurs in Italy for Slow Food is Fabrio Picchi. His restaurants are world renowned and located in Florence, which I will characterize in my next article in this series, A Slow Stroll from Milano to Palermo.

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