Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Slow versus fast

I attended my first meeting of my local Slow Food Convivia last night, in Portland. I had been invited nearly a year ago to some of the initial meetings of a group looking to explore community in greater Portland, around a monthly meal, consisting of healthy and local food. Obviously, I'm a bit of a procrastinator, as it has taken me a year to finally show up at a gathering. Ironically, the woman who invited me couldn't attend.

For those of you who don't know about Slow Food, it is a movement that was founded in Italy in 1986. Its founder, Carlo Petrini, sought to promote food and wine, as well as agricultural biodiversity worldwide.

Like many aspects of our culture, local food production has been co-opted by market elements, robbing it of uniqueness and resulting in the homogenization of much of what passes for production and preparation of food in the U.S.

While my intial experience of what Slow Food (the movement) was about came from an Utne Reader article, I didn't know alot about what the significance was of the worldwide movement.

I'm still in the process of understanding it, but my initial in-person experience was a positive one. The Portland Convivium (local chapter) had a communal meal, with members (and non-members) bringing various foods. All of us got to try new foods, drink some wine, socialize and then participate in the monthly meeting. As a newcomer, I met alot of new people, many with connections to food; either cooks, owners of bakeries or local markets, as well as others like myself, with no formal connection to food other than being a consumer.

The concept is an interesting one and I'll probably go back again. The meetings are the first Monday of the month and our next one will once again be at the beautiful St. Lawrence Arts and Community Center in Portland, with the meeting set to start at 6PM.


ChefDunn said...

Fascinating subject. I've never heard of Slow Food before. Maybe a good thing for them to do is get the word out to more of the local restaurants. As someone that worked in the business for a long time I know chefs are always looking for new things to try. What better than something that might be a little bit of an unknown.

weasel said...

I love the idea of procrastinating over slow food.

Jim said...

Good food, friend, a little wine--it doesn't get much better than that!

I don't know alot about the group in Portland, but the owner of Borealis Breads is involved with the Convivium, the President of MOFGA; for restaurants, Rob over at Hugo's has some involvement, as well as Sam Hayward. Certainly, getting the local chefs involved is key to an idea like this.

Will keep everyone updated about events and other related info.