For my beloved Brother who introduced me to the art of cooking, who taught me how to taste and truly love food. Without him I'd never be able to be where I am today.

March 19, 2012

"Mangiare e Fare l’Amore"

Photo by egle

Yesterday I had the immense honor to listen to a great man. The founder and president of the Slow Food movement Carlo Petrini addressed a full house in Helsinki last night. Being the overly emotional person that I am, I found myself applauding this charming and charismatic man from the town of Bra, Italy with tears of joy in my eyes. Dear readers, if you still haven’t heard about Slow Food you should correct that with the speed of lightening! In a nutshell, Slow Food is all about preserving and fighting for good quality food worldwide. The ingredients of good quality food according to Slow Food are good/tasty food, clean food and fair food. “If one of these criteria is missing, there’s no quality at all”, Signor Petrini explained with a determined face.

Food has people talking and the masses are (Thank God) opening their eyes more and more. But why do we need all this fuss around food? Isn’t it just a trend? Well, the answer to that question will certainly divide people’s opinions, but if you ask me, or Signor Petrini for that matter, we need to talk about food now more than ever before. And trends have nothing to do with it.

In the past, food didn’t travel the four corners of the world to get on our plats. Seasonality was embraced, respected and followed. It created natural diversity in accordance with Mother Earth. Then came the wave of capitalism and with it also the contemporary plague – consumerism. On top of that, people started traveling long distances for leisure. Soon it wasn’t enough to savor a beautifully ripe mango somewhere in in Africa or South-East Asia, no, the mango had to come to us to any cost. Neither was it enough that the poor little mango travelled halfway across the world to make us happy, no, it had to be of perfect shape and size, the prettiest mango of all. Paying customers started having improbable demands on availability and accessibility. And that’s when it all turned upside down.

Signor Petrini pointed out that at a first glance it seems that food today is all about recipes, sharing them, comparing them, getting ahold of the best ones… But brace yourselves; recipes make up for only 10–15% of gastronomy! Gastronomy – the practice of choosing, eating and cooking good quality food – is a multidisciplinary domain. It’s equally about history and anthropology as it is about economy and medicine for example, and the list goes on and on. This is precisely the reason why I get so disappointed when I hear someone saying they write a food blog and when I check it out it’s overloaded with recipes, one after the other. Why don’t we talk about food like we talk about the next presidential elections or the economical crisis? Without food there wouldn’t even be a next president to talk about, let alone an economy for us to fuck up.

Signor Petrini revealed himself to be a non-believer, “but if I believed in God”, he said, “I’d thank Him for making the two most vital acts of human kind – eating and making love – so immensely pleasant and enjoyable”. In my country, if you ask me, a frighteningly big amount of the people have forgotten both how to relish in food and take ecstatic pleasure of two bodies becoming one. All that matters is safety and whether it’s healthy or not. Everything is restricted and socioculturally controlled. Limits, limits and more limits. I really hope the people listening yesterday went home hungry and lusting… I sure wouldn’t have minded getting acquainted with one of the many Italian chefs present at the lecture ;)

We have come such a long way from Nature. Nature has become so unnatural that we need to add the word ‘nature’ or ‘natural’ everywhere, especially when talking about food (or making love love for that matte). But it should all be natural – NATURALLY! Unfortunately, it is no longer so and that makes my very sad indeed. Signor Petrini said something that really shocked me. He rattled the crowd by actually thanking McDonald’s! At first it was like he had pronounced the name of the Devil, but then he explained to the audience that without McDonald’s and fast food there might not be Slow Food either. And he’s right. The human kind always seems to only learn the hard way…

As a conclusion I’d like you to ponder over something Signor Petrini said. He said that what is absolutely insane in today’s world is that people spend more money on loosing weight than on they do on eating! At first I gasped for air, that’s how astonished I was. But come to think about it, it might actually be true. I have to admit that even I felt a bit guilty. When I first started studying and moved away from home, the content of my fridge was most of the time composed of nothing more than the little lamp and some dry old potatoes. Somehow I still managed to purchase a gym card with a membership fee too expensive to even say out loud, shame on me! But I was vain, young and foolish, what can I say. Nowadays, I’m proud to inform you that it’s quite the opposite and I can't even see the little lamp. A good friend of mine came to my place a few days ago and got very surprised when opening my fridge: “It’s full, you’ve got so much food!”. Yes indeed! I don’t know about the other vital act of human kind, but I surely eat good every single day!

The value of food is so much more than its price. Next time you have to choose between some magic diet pills and good quality food according to Slow Food standards, do yourself and your environment a favor and go for the latter. Be aware of the pleasure good quality food gives you.

Grazie dal cuore Signor Petrini!

1 comment:

  1. hej hej are u gonna join this?


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