Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Slow Food" Creates Place

Interestingly, when I told him about my Place Blog yesterday, my friend Gustav told me about the Slow Food movement ( since he saw a connection between Place and Food. And the more I think about it, the more I know he's right.

Eating real food "slowly" promotes Place as much as anything else. Meals made by hand, using produce grown locally, and served while people gather and talk is the ultimate creation of Place. I remember when I was a kid, before the first McDonalds or Pizza Hut came into my hometown of Wellsville, New York, we always ate home-cooked meals made from vegetables we'd grown and picked by hand, venison or other game Dad had hunted, bread Mom had baked from scratch, and blackberries I'd picked up on the hill behind our home. We gathered around the kitchen table every night at 5:30 to talk about the day and to be together as a family. Those meals and those gatherings are probably my central memories of Home.

If we gobble down a 7-Eleven sandwich at noon, or grab a Pizza on the way home from work, we may be doing more damage to our sense of place than we're doing to our waistlines. When I stopped by Target the other day, I noticed several families eating their evening meal in the food shoppe there. Hot dogs, fries, a large soda, and a pretzel. It was clear they'd done it many times before.

As a society, we focus on what that processed food is doing to our children's physical health, but perhaps the more important question is what "fast meals" served in assembly-line fashion by strangers are doing to our children's sense of place and their connection to the world around them. (Marilyn Finnemore)


Anonymous said...

Hi Marilyn,

Here is a video for you and others to really feel/experience what slow food is all about.

When you finish viewing the video you will want to go to the market, have fun, and build a meal you can enjoy. I was starving after watching this.

This is my friend Martins Ritins, who is the head of slow food Latvia, and chef for Vincent's restaurant, located in Riga, Latvia.

Riga, Latvia, and the Baltics are all about slow food and connecting with "PLACE".

Enjoy the video and enjoy slow food!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful -- makes me hungry just watching it. What's particularly interesting is the chef's insistence upon going to the market himself to choose the food. This is the ultimate in giving attention to something that we value, which is central to creating Place, whether we're cooking, building a house, or tending our children.

Jill said...

I certainly go through phases where I'm "too busy to cook" but I know many people who NEVER do and have no idea how. What's more, they see anything domestic as utter drudgery. I think this is encouraged by industry...think how much food advertising in the 20th century was all about freeing us from the kitchen, enabling our "on the go" lifestyles, etc. The movement to fast food, convenient food, etc. is ONLY about profit, and based on appealing to consumer's wallet and tastebuds at the lowest common denominator. That's why so much of this food is overly salty, overly sweet, and then of course dyed, preserved, processed. It is never about nutrition and we have certainly paid the price in our health as a society. But Marilyn's point is a great one, that the shift in how, what, where, and when we eat is about more than physical health.