My roommates and I were living steps from Santa Croce in Florence, Italy, when we saw a circle of red and white tents pop up in the piazza. Our excitement peaked when we realized the tents housed samples of the freshest mozzarella, warm bread and pastries.
The big sign advertising Slow Food was quickly passed by -- I didn't know at the time that this was a movement greater than a few free bites. I figured it referred to the Italian way of waiting hours for meals to arrive at your table, and even more hours spent enjoying each sip of Chianti and bit of tagliatelli. Even my cooking teacher in Italy said the reason the population was so healthy was because they ate good food, real food.
Nowadays, it scares the heck out of me when people haven't heard about Slow Food -- a non-profit concept that counters fast, tasteless, traditionless morsels that we've gotten so used to. Instead, over 100,000 people and 130 countries are advocating the return of the responsible and delicious palate.
And while the Slow Food movement speaks to all of my ideals and values and economic views, it speaks even more to my stomach. That mozzarella was the best I've ever had, and the thought of eating the shredded kind in a Sargento ziploc bag is not even an option. What I like about Slow Food is that instead of hitting people over the head with guilt, it plays up to our simplest fantasy.
So eat and cook on, friends. But do it slowly.