05/12/2006 - 22:00

Milestone for slow food

05/12/2006 - 22:00

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The global slow food movement marks its 20th anniversary this year, and proponents hope the milestone will serve as a reminder of the benefits of the slow food revolution in a fast food world.

Milestone for slow food

The global slow food movement marks its 20th anniversary this year, and proponents hope the milestone will serve as a reminder of the benefits of the slow food revolution in a fast food world.

In that regard, slow food campaigners are urging foodies and non-foodies alike to remember where it all started.

Food writer Carlo Petrini started the movement in 1986 in Italy.

He, along with 60 or so of his likeminded friends, had become dismayed at the rise of the fast food culture – a habit they claimed was weakening the basis of families and states

The final straw, it is claimed, came when a McDonald’s opened on the Spanish Steps in Rome, enraging Mr Petrini.

When his movement started three years later, however, it was more than just a rebellion against fries and burgers, it was a fight against practices such as intensive farming, which are as much a part of the fast food world.

Slow food became the antithesis of drive-through dinners. At last count there were more than 80,000 members from 105 different countries, all believing that their simple philosophy can restore people’s love of good food and all that goes with it.

At its heart, slow food is a way of life that revolves around producing and eating great food in a relaxed, sociable way. That’s it; no instant gratification, no broken chain from producer to consumer.

And despite any misconception, slow food is not about food that takes hours to prepare. It’s simply about home cooking and good, fresh produce.

While slow food practitioners may not be marching on the street or burning effigies of the Hamburgler, they promote their initiative through chapters (called convivia) in each region. There are a 100 or so members here in WA, with well-known chefs and restaurateurs among them.

Ismail Tosun of Eminem and Kate Lamont are two of Western Australia’s slow food supporters, their restaurants taking an organic and natural approach to the way food is prepared.

Mr Tosun hand picks his own fruit and vegetables for his restaurant, believing this small step is important in the chain between his kitchen and his diners.

Beyond getting the best out of our food, slow food also seeks to bridge the gap between people and their kitchens. Believing that many in our midst now don’t possess basic kitchen skills, slow food emphasises food knowledge.

And they might be onto something.

Many apartments in big cities like New York are built without kitchens; and there have been rumours the same may be planned for some new developments a little closer to home, in Subiaco.

With many in our community blaming a junk food lifestyle on rising rates of obesity and subsequent health complications, the time is right for the slow food movements to be heard louder than ever.

The movement has a truly international presence – in one week members can be helping to save a heritage farm in Victoria, intervening during violent land disputes in Brazil, or chairing a Peruvian summit on agricultural biodiversity.

A lot has happened in the 20 years since the golden arches loomed over the Italian capital, and slow food campaigners hope to spread their message to an even wider audience in the next two decades.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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