What is Slow Food?

You heard me, what is this Slow Food business you keep yapping about?

Well friend, I’m so glad you asked! First it’s important to consider that sometimes the simplest answer has the longes-

I’m out, bitch, ain’t no one got time for that!

Wait wait, I was just trying to say that the food discussion, especially in the United States, often falls prey to oversimplification, nutritionism, and the false dichotomies of –

/falls asleep
//head bashes against table
///wakes up

Hey, welcome back, let’s keep it simple, OK?

Fine, but I’m warning you…

OK OK, as my friend Mario once put it; “Slow Food is the opposite of Fast Food.”

That’s it?

Not all of it, but most of it. Cultivating an herb garden, making a meal from scratch, brewing beer, leisurely drinking moonshine in the park with your inappropriately young trophy wife; these are all under the umbrella of “Slow Food.” Fast Food is not just burgers and fries; it’s purchasing and eating food of unknown provenance, unknown worker conditions, unknown nutrition, in an unengaged manner. To eat “fast” is to eat passively, to consume processed and commodified items that often barely resemble food.

So all Fast Food is bad, gotcha.

Well, not necessarily, but more often than not, yes. Everything in moderation, including moderation, right? Sometimes you wake up from a bourbon bender, and you just want a 20 piece nugget meal with a liter of cola. Yes, you know that chicken nuggets are made from pulverizing horrendously-raised chickens into a pink schmear of sadness, but just as there are no atheists in a foxhole, there are no food snobs in a hangover.

Why should I care about Slow Food? Isn’t it some hippie dippie elitist supper club?

Great question, friend! In Anthropology it’s crucial to ask yourself daily “Why is this important? Why should the average person care about this?” Too often anthropologists go down the hyper-specific-specialization rabbit hole endemic in academia and lose focus as to why anyone should care.

Answer the question, shithead.

Sheesh, OK, my simplest answer is that everyone eats, or at least hopes to. What we call Slow Food nowadays is simply rebranding and reclaiming the way humans have eaten for our entire history. Food lends itself to infinite cultural variation and beauty depending on geographical and cultural factors, and the quickest way to connect with someone (outside of soccer and getting drunk) is to eat and enjoy their food. In the aforementioned examples, many things are considered “Slow.” Hell, even THINKING about where your food comes from is participatory, kind of like the way a lawyer can bill  you $200 for merely THINKING about your divorce case for five minutes while your Babylon whore of a wife goes around sucking off every truck driv –

We’re getting off topic here. Need a moment?

No I’m good. Where was I?

Elitism,Slow Food, your whore of an ex, etc.

Right. In terms of our history, I think the US will never shake its Puritanical roots. Anything epicurean is somehow perceived as a slippery slope towards pee-pees and hoo-hahs thrusting together, laziness, and the kind of secular humanism only those faggots in Europe participate in. (Just think of the townspeople in Footloose, crossed with Ron Swanson’s value system.) This attitude extends to Americans not taking sick days with a perverse pride, having only two weeks of vacation, and not spending very much time preparing and eating meals. On top of all that, the prepared food industry has done a remarkable job convincing people that cooking should be quick, easy, and outsourced to corporations. Soooooo, in a culture that sees time as money and applies business ideologies (even the global-bankrupting ones) to politics, education, and food, spending MORE time to make LESS food is seen as profligate.

So what should I do? Go back to the old ways? Hunt and fish? I have a really douchey friend that does paleo…

Well, we all have douchey friends that do paleo, but the simple fact is that most humans have had about 11,000 years to “learn” to eat cereal crops, and we’re pretty good at it now. Plus, there would be no beer or booze without the grain surplus afforded by agriculture and a sedentary (used in the non-nomadic sense, not the fat-people-being-cut-out-of-their-trailers-sense) lifestyle. If you feel like being pedantic while earning a richly-deserved beating, point this out the next time you see a paleo-cross-fitting-Tough-Mudder crushing a beer at the finish line. Slow Food is not synonymous with being a Luddite; on the contrary, it embraces technology and the ease of communication nowadays to shine light on marginalized food systems and traditional ways of life that have less value in the aforementioned commoditized food system. But by all means, hunt and fish more, cure your own bacon, and learn some basic butchery!

Can’t you say it simpler? It’s just food, for chrissakes.

I’ll let Slow Food speak for itself. It defines itself as such: “Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment. Slow Food believes that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of good food and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of biodiversity, culture and knowledge that make this pleasure possible. A non-profit member-supported association, Slow Food was founded in 1989 [in Italy] to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.”

Waaaaay better than how you were describing it, bro.

I know, I know. In essence, Slow Food is a no-brainer to love: environmental awareness, cultural preservation, and tasty food to boot. It’s hard to profit from local systems that have disconnected from the industrial food system, which is why prickish corporations like Monsanto sue, sue, and then sue some more in order to-

You lost me at the Commie bullshit. Let’s go grab a beer.

*Sigh* OK.

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