Most of us live the Fast Life, rushing from job to home to multiple activities, never catching up, never a moment’s rest. We sometimes even eat standing up, on the way to the next thing, never tasting a bit of it — just shoving it in unthinkingly. The Slow Food Movement was started in response to this sort of hectic life that most of us live. It aims to remind us that there is another way — a better, healthier way.
The Slow Food Movement’s mission is to promote food that is “good, clean and fair” — a powerful objective that would have far-reaching effects on health, the environment and prosperity, if people adopted these values. Slow Food is really about celebrating a culture that embraces slowing down so we can fully enjoy and appreciate not only the food set before us and the family and friends we are sharing that meal with, but also, all the people and land, in all its diversity, that make that meal possible.
As the name suggests, the Slow Food Movement was started to counter Fast Food. More precisely, it started as a protest to the opening of the first McDonald’s in Rome in 1986. The McDonald’s in question was about to open at the base of one of the most beautiful historic landmarks in Rome — the Spanish Steps built in the 18th century. At the time, many Italians considered the opening of McDonald’s in this setting to be an attack on Italian heritage and food. The “Save Rome” committee organized a protest, with speakers warning that Americanization, as symbolized by McDonald’s, would degrade the city of Rome and all it meant to be Italian.
Pasta vs Big Macs
To drive the point home, a journalist by the name of Carlo Petrini and a few of his friends started handing out bowls of penne pasta to passers-by. The bowls of home-made pasta symbolized the opposite of the mass-produced, bland and unhealthy food that McDonald’s was introducing.
The Rome McDonalds went ahead, but the Slow Food Movement was also born, and from there it has grown to include millions of people in over 160 countries. The Slow Food Movement champions biodiversity, locally grown food, local traditions and anything that puts a check on our spiraling-out-of-control Fast Life. It attempts to show that there is an alternative to the unthinking adoption of mechanization and industrialization as a way of life. The American Slow Food Movement’s manifesto puts it succinctly:
“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.”
The Fast Life, like every ingrained habit, especially when it is supported by all aspects of our culture, is hard to break. But putting people and the environment first is perhaps the most critical act we can take to ensure our well-being for generations to come.
The case of the family meal
The family meal is a prime example of just how fast our lives have become. Families rarely have time for a sit-down meal together, especially a home-cooked one. The family meal as a cornerstone of family life has been steadily declining since the 60’s. Strangely, it seems that the more money we pour into high-end kitchen equipment, the less time we have for actual cooking. The sheer joy of cooking, presentation and eating is not commonplace anymore.
Making the Slow Life Do-able
Most of us can’t realistically just drop out of the Fast Life (sometimes called the rat race), but that’s where Let’s Pasta comes in. Our fresh-frozen pasta, using fresh local ingredients that are grown using sustainable farming practices, supports the essence of the Slow Food Movement. Our pasta is lovingly made, continues the traditional Italian cuisine of our family, and best of all, it allows you to take a breather, sit down with your family and share the delights of good food and conversation around the dinner table.
Ironically, we can thank McDonald’s for the Slow Food Movement and for reminding us of what’s important in life — for reminding us to stop and smell the pasta. Tonight, try one of our recipes and embrace the Slow Food Movement – you’ll be happy you did.