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My friends call me the "grammar goddess." Really. ;-) I own a freelance writing, editing and tutoring business. Previously, I served three years as food editor for The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, which kindled my interest in food writing. My other areas of expertise in writing include features, community news, architecture/construction and engraving/personalization. I have a frightening number of cookbooks and watch too many DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Antiques Roadshow (BBC and PBS versions) shows. And I tweak nearly every recipe I make.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Slow Food

I've heard bits and pieces about the Slow Food movement, but I really didn't think much about it until recently.

Today, I was reading Food & Faith: Justice, Joy and Daily Bread, a book I received as a gift when I worked at a Catholic newspaper a few years ago; it's a compilation of essays about food, spirituality and politics. In particular, I was reading an essay by nutritionist Marion Nestle called "Food Politics." She was talking about what constitutes a healthy diet and added that basically that a diet with plenty of vegetables, whole grains and fruits is the most healthy. I immediately wanted to say, "Duh!" Not a very erudite comment, certainly, but truthful. We all should know by now what to do; why is it so difficult?

The politics of food is such that each food industry has its public relations gurus trying to promote what it sells whether it's good or bad for us. (Think California Raisin commercials, "the incredible, edible egg" and other food campaigns.) We spend a good deal of our time reading, watching or listening to advertisements and so-called food studies promoted by various food industries telling us what to eat. A good many of the studies focus on too narrow a spectrum, because it's simpler, or because it serves the purpose of one segment or other of the food industry. (It's always a good idea to learn who's promoting a study before buying into its results.) Also, the focus of food manufacturers is on "value-added" products, such as potato chips, rather than potatoes, because they are more profitable products. In addition, adding fat, sugar and/or salt to food can make it more appealing to our taste buds.

Green living includes sustainable eating, which is at the heart of the slow food movement. Buying local food as much as possible, in season, is part of it: you're eliminating the middle man and supporting local farmers at the farmers' market or roadside stand near you. Food that travels a lesser distance is fresher and has more nutrients; it's not on a fast train from somewhere.

The Slow Food Detroit site gives a clear picture of the Slow Food philosophy: "Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work". This site lists local events, as does Slow Food Huron Valley. (This website is under reconstruction, though, so it's suggested for timely updates to get on its mailing list.)

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