Slow Food Nations Denver

Slow Food Nations, a gathering of people from around the world centered on food, made Denver the epicenter of conversations that revolved around food freedom, sovereignty, taste, cooking, farming and everything in between. On Saturday morning a panel led by Slow Food’s founder and president Carlo Petrini addressed, with contagious passion, a flock of hungry for fair food followers on the streets of downtown Denver. 

“We must have global consciousness around food,” said Petrini, “a vision that is local, that allows us to know, respect and support our local producers, our local food, and our local community… at the same time we ought to have a global vision of food and value other communities the same way.” 

This is the second time Slow Food has chosen Denver to bring voices around real and fair food for all. In 2015, the conversation revolved around Slow Meat, questioning the meat production processes and systems established in the U.S. and the record meat consumption of our growing society. 

Slow Food changed the way I see food. For more than a decade I have followed this grassroots organization and its philosophy that good food is a right not a luxury. It was Alice Waters who first introduced me to Slow Food when I became enchanted by her vision and passion for supporting local farmers, for eating a summer peach with the pleasure and excitement of a once a year occasion, and for her relentless dedication for change in our food system, beginning with educating children through direct immersion in school gardens.

This weekend I met Alice Waters, I sat in two of her talks and relished in her ideology of “seducing people through taste,” as she said. Waters, as many of the important public food figures who visited us this weekend, believes that if we put our efforts together we, all of us, can help change our toxic food system. “I can’t think about food without thinking about the land,” she said, and her sentiment carried out through the conversations and the different events held over the weekend. Denver chefs and visiting chefs from around the country and the world put together dinners to honor the land, the sea, and the cultures, including flavors of Mexico, sustainable seafood, heritage grains, plus many workshops in techniques like sourdough bread, cheesemaking, butchering, and more. 

Continue reading Slow Food Nations Denver

My Kind of Book Club

My love for reading and attempting to write came later in life. Yes, I always read culinary books, but that was as far as I got with the written word.

Fiction, not a chance.

Not until I started working on a minor in English and writing and had to catch up with humanity on the classics. I did like the literature classes, maybe because the professor were knowledgeable enough to keep me engaged, and went deep into the paragraphs to the word level, the punctuation, the intention of the writer.

I miss that.

Reading in such way helped me understand its importance, the importance of reading that is. I stayed within the creative-non-fiction writing genre, especially food writing and culinary food memoirs. From Michael Pollan to Dan Barber and Ruth Reichl, to Anthony Bourdain, Bee Wilson and David Lebovitz.

All fascinating stories.

All related to food and travel.

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So when it came time to join a book club, I longed for one that focused on the subject of food. Hard to find, right? But the reading gnomes worked hard to make it happened and in January I went to my first book club meeting. Slow Food Denver put together a list of awesome books, I must say, and sent a call of action to all of those, like me, who wanted to sit around a table and discuss The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” by Michael Pollan, or The Third Plate,” by Dan Barber, to name a few.

Yes, dreams do come true!

Dreams can also bring you out to a reality that feels more like a nightmare. Reading about the U.S. food system is as depressing as going on a beach vacation to encounter pouring rain everyday. The set of laws that support industrial agriculture of mono crops, like corn and soy, which are used as fillers in processed foods or to feed animals that were not intended to eat grains but grass and therefore get sick and are injected with antibiotics, and almost punishes small farmers by subsidizing the big guys and making competition harder, are just the tip of the dysfunctional iceberg of this so call “system to help us feed the world.”

Thankfully Michel Pollan’s entertaining writing style takes the reader from page to page with ease and grace, hypnotizing her with fascinating facts and comical anecdotes. No wonder he has become of the most influential writers of the past decade. Barber, on the other hand, is more philosophical, and you can almost hear his lament over the series of atrocities we have done to the food we produce.

And that’s exactly what we do in this book club, well besides drink wine and eat.

XO
~ Paula

So, What the Hell is Slow Meat?

For days I ran around spreading the word about Slow Meat like my dog likes to spread his drool all over my black pants when I get home. The response was less enthusiastic “Slow Food? Slow Meat? What’s that?” A constant reminder that this symposium is just as unknown as the problems our society faces with the current meat production system.

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Slow Food
Let’s backtrack to 1986, some crazy Italians {I’m married to one} didn’t want a McDonald’s built next to the Spanish Steps in Rome and demanded slow food instead of fast food, or so goes the story. In 1989 the movement brought delegates from fifteen countries, which signed a manifesto to promote Slow Food as a way of protecting traditions, farmers and producers, consumers and the environment. Part of Slow Food’s manifesto states: Continue reading So, What the Hell is Slow Meat?