My instincts have always been strong and, for the most part, reliable. They’ve gotten me out of some tricky international traveling situations that I really had no business escaping undamaged. Many of you may ask where those instincts were when I got myself INTO said trouble. But, of course, no one’s perfect — especially the young, rash and (seemingly) indestructible.
My instincts around food have an even better record. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had cause to doubt them. So when I went down to the dock the other day to meet a fishing boat that makes periodic stops here on Pender, it didn’t occur to me for even a moment to check that my internal alarms were on and functioning.
Perhaps it was a crossed signal. Maybe I was in a dead zone (there’s a couple on our little island full of hills and trees) or, more likely, I just wasn’t listening because I knew I wasn’t going to like the answer to my question.
This was originally going to be a Slow Food, FAST post. And in truth, we had this for dinner on a Thursday, not for lunch on a Sunday. Yet despite the fact that both Howard and I were happily content with this seemingly small bowl of steamed rice topped with prawns/shrimp, I became insurmountably concerned that many of you wouldn’t consider this to be a complete dinner.
And so I acquiesced to my concerns and relegated this filling, aromatic and deliciously satisfying dinner to lunch status. I’ll continue to wrestle with this decision cop-out while the rest of you move on to the next page, and the quick story about how this dish came together.
“We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods.
A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life.
May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency.
Our defense should begin at the table with Slow Food. Let us rediscover the flavors and savors of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of Fast Food.”
from the Slow Food Manifesto
As I’ve said before, despite their tendency towards exclusionary language, the Slow Food movement speaks to me. And I have little doubt that it would speak to us all if we all had a little more time between the end of our workday and dinner time. Which is where Slow Food, FAST comes in. It’s dinner, from scratch, on the table in less than an hour.
What is Slow Food?
“Slow Food stands at the intersection of ethics and pleasure, ecology and gastronomy. It opposes the standardization of taste, the unrestrained power of the multinationals, industrial agriculture and the folly of fast life. It restores cultural dignity to food and slow rhythms of conviviality to the table. It is an universe of people who exchange knowledge and experience. It believes that every dish we eat is the reult of choices made in fields, on ships, in vineyards, at schools, in parliaments.”
(from the Welcome to Our World Companion Handbook, Slow Food International)
That paragraph makes my spirit sing! It underlines many of the life choices Howard and I have made in the past (almost) 10 years: to slow down, move to a small community where we would know our neighbours, and find joy in a less-cluttered, less-busy life.
We wouldn’t go back for the world, but sometimes there’s no time for Slow. Am I right? Which is where Slow Food, FAST comes in: dinner, made from scratch, on the table in less than an hour.
I am a proud new member of Slow Food International, Vancouver & Gulf Islands Convivium. Since getting my welcome package from Italy, I have learned more about the origins and concepts of the Slow Food movement – including what convivium means.
I consider myself to have a pretty big vocabulary, and a passable knowledge of food. That said, I must also say that convivium is not the only instance of (somewhat) exclusionary language that I have come across in the organization’s “Welcome to Our World” handbook. Hmmm…me no like complicated words…they make me wonder if they really want everyone to join their club. Continue reading