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Why Do We Need To Support the Slow Food Movement?

Apr. 6, 2016

Slow Food USA

As children, we have all heard the proverb slow and steady wins the race, and enjoyed the epic anecdote that goes with it.  Speaking of childhood, it makes us nostalgic to think of all those lousy days when all that was required of us was to giggle with anyone and everyone, play around, and have our glass of milk.  Life was slow, but simple and happy. What went wrong?

Thank Heavens, there still are people who work solely to remind the world to sit back, have a glass of fresh milk, and enjoy good, natural food without a care in the world.  There are people who extend their unconditional love and care to the degraded, global south humans and other deploring species that share the planet with us; all this, by reviving faith in good, clean, and fair food. Slow Food, we owe you!

Operation Falafel and Slow Food’s share a mutual love for

  • preserving old age traditions
  • cultural food
  • sustainable food production
  • valuing grassroots constituents

It has brought the two together on this emergent global bereave.  The fast food culture has gashed numerous cultural strings which linked us to our purer, cleaner past.

As a prompt amendment, we must introduce to the world “Slow Food,” as a means of bringing humans together, conserving biodiversity, and transitioning our lifestyles from fast and furious to slow and steady.

Slow Food Movement is exactly the Good Samaritan our bruised Earth needed.  Present Earthlings better succumb to its terms and conditions and get in line to sign up if they wish to leave convivial home for future baby Earthlings. Why?

Here’s why:

It’s a Slow Movement

What is slow and gradual stays for longer.  We don’t ask for bloody revolutions to fill that hole up in the Ozone layer.  We don’t ask for fast paced internet lives to connect the world.

We ask for backyard food tastings and low-key meet ups where people from all ethnic and national backgrounds are invited to share their views on conserving biodiversity and defending bees.

Vegetable Soup

Slow Food is a Healthy Alternative to Fast Food

When you think of fast food, the daunting images of burgers, deep fryers, and obesity cloud your mind, don’t they?  As a solution to these nightmares, we suggest you move onto fresh farm food and traditional street food.  Not just adopt it as a lifestyle, but also promote and preserve it as a cause.

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Slow Food Cares for the Earth

Dear planet Earth,

We, Earthlings, are extremely sorry for turning you into a trashcanAs a result, we humans suffer losses and near our extinction with each species we lose and each gallon on carbon we expel into the air.

However, we are working to fix that.  Slow Food is very vigilant about climatic havocs.  It is taking steps to improve industrial food production process, and curtail mindless exploitation and exhaustion of natural resources.

Root Vegetables

Slow Food is Animal Friendly

When we say animals, we refer to all species biologically considered animals and not just humans.

Slow Food ensures that all animals that contribute to our daily meals live and die with as little pain and fear as possible.  They are constantly shedding sweat, blood, and tears to get this ideology viral globally.

These kind people are raising their voices for a number of causes that interlink food and people.  Below are some of the many people’s problems Slow Food takes under its wing:

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  • the land grabbing prevalent in global south countries
  • protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of family farms
  • bringing biodiversity through restoring the cultures and customs of indigenous people
  • registering concern and disapproval for GM food and GMOs
  • convincing EU into coming up with more holistic food and farming policies that, above all, go in line with the interests of the people and the Earth

Slow Food is Educating the World

A major part of all campaigns and conferences, Slow Food designates some time in making people understand how their food comes into being.  This initiative urges one to reflect upon how easily we cast away uneaten food as waste; the very food which was made available to us after hefty, tiring hours of cultivating, cooking, and processing.

Vegetable Basket

Not only do they make people realize this global fault, but also work towards seeking solutions for it.

Slow Food Knows and Respects the People Who Farm our Food

Food and Taste Education also specifically mentions where and by whom our easy, canned food was first cared for.  This helps develop a beautiful link among cultures and people, and shows how our food choices impact the lives of people living oceans apart from us.

Slow Food is among the pioneering world saver organizations.  Operation Falafel feels great pride in befriending this association of merry convivium working towards making this world a better place.

 Thankfully, we are somewhat doing our bit in saving mother Earth, are you?

(Photo Credits: Shutterstock)

Rachel Stinson

Rachel Stinson

Dubai

An avid reader and writer, love music and movies.

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Spotlight on Pulses: A Superfood Before its Time

Pulses, a source of nutritional meals throughout the world, are getting special recognition this year. The United Nations has designated 2016 as the “International Year of Pulses,” highlighting not only their nutritional benefits but also their role in sustainable food production, food security, nutrition, and reducing the environmental impact of food production.

Part of the legume family, pulses are grown and harvested solely for their dry edible seeds. Dried beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils are the most commonly known pulses, all of which are high in protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals such as zinc and iron. Legumes that are harvested green, such as green beans and green peas, are not considered pulses (though are equally tasty).

Pulses have been a part of traditional diets for centuries not only for their high nutritional value, but also for their low impact on the environment and long shelf life. Often grown by small farmers in regions such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America, pulses can be stored for months without losing their nutritional value, increasing food availability between harvests.

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Additionally, pulses can contribute to sustainable agricultural production. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s fact sheet on pulses highlights that these crops are more water efficient compared to other protein sources. Just 13 gallons of water are needed to produce 2.2 pounds of split peas or lentils compared to 1,142 gallons for the same amount of chicken, and 3,434 gallons for the same amount of beef. Due to their unique nitrogen fixing properties, pulses can also improve soil fertility, reduce the need for fertilizer, and extend farmland productivity. Crop residues from grain legumes can also be used as animal fodder, further reducing waste.

In addition to being nutritious and good for the environment, pulses are also delicious! Baked beans, split pea soup, daal, falafel, and chili are just a few examples of pulse-based meals you have undoubtedly eaten and enjoyed.

Pulses figure prominently in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, a living catalog of distinctive foods that are in danger of disappearing. Identifying and championing these foods keeps them in production and on our plates. In the mid-Atlantic region, pulses such as the Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean, the True Red Cranberry Bean, and the Turkey Craw Bean have been identified as having specific historic or cultural importance.

You can search Local Harvest’s website to find local producers of these ingredients, and many more included in the Ark of Taste. More information about the UN’s “International Year of Pulses” can be found on the Food and Agriculture Organization’s website.

Below are a few ideas to whet your appetite for incorporating more of this superfood into your diet.   Already have some favorite recipes using pulses? Let us know!

Lentil Salad with Radicchio and Almonds
Serves 4
Adapted from Plenty More, by Yotam Ottolenghi

1 cup Puy Lentils
2 Bay Leaves
Scant 3 Tablespoons Honey
1/4 tsp Red Chile Flakes
1/2 tsp ground Turmeric
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 medium head Radicchio
2 oounces Pecorino
1 cup toasted almonds
2/3 cup Basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cups Dill leaves, coarsely chopped
Salt and Black Pepper

Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with plenty of water, add the bay leaves, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender.  Drain well and return to the pan.

Whisk together the vinegar, half the oil, the honey, the chile flakes, the turmeric, 3/4 tsp salt, and some black pepper until the honey dissolves.  Stir into the lentils while they are still hot, then leave to cool down a little, discarding the bay leaves.

To cook the radicchio, pour the remaining oil into a sauté pan and place over high heat.  Cut the radicchio into 8 wedges and place the wedges in the hot oil.  Cook them for about 1 minute on each side and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the lentils, almonds, pecorino, and herbs to the bowl.  Stir gently and serve warmish or at room temperature.

Hummus
Makes about 2 cups

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (or roughly 2 cups drained, cooked chickpeas)
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon), plus more to taste
1 small clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Drain canned or stovetop cooked chickpeas into a strainer and rinse under cool running water. If you have the time and patience, pinch the skins from each of the chickpeas to make a smoother hummus.

Combine the chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process the hummus until it becomes very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to integrate any large chunks.

Taste. If using any of the variation ingredients, add those now and process again. If your hummus is stiffer than you’d like, add more lemon juice or olive oil to make the hummus creamier.

Scrape the hummus into a bowl and serve with pita chips or raw vegetables.

Hummus will also keep for up to a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Variations – your imagination is your only limit here!

  • Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of spices for more flavor, such as cumin, sumac, harissa, smoked paprika, or zatar.
  • For a roasted vegetable hummus, blend in 1 cup of roasted vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, or garlic.
  • For an olive hummus, fold in 3/4 cup of chopped green or black olives.
  • Drizzle a little pomegranate molasses or sprinkle a pinch of sumac on top.

 

 

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Slow Wine 2016 Pours Italian Wines Across America

By Elena Grigashkina, Slow Food USA International Campaigns Intern

“Wine, just as food, must be good, clean and fair.”  Slow Wine as a natural extension of Slow Food.

Slow Wine

Over the last decade, Americans have been eagerly embracing the idea of sustainable agriculture, natural food and a healthier life style. Yes, the natural food movement has changed the way people eat today. We consider where our food came from, who grew or produced it and how far it traveled to get to our plates. But I wonder, do we ask ourselves the same questions when buying a bottle of Pinot in a local liquor store or having a glass of wine with our meal?

Slow Food believes that wine, just as food, must be good, clean and fair. In the end, wine is an agricultural product, and has an impact on the lives of people who produce and consume it, and on the environment. Pesticides, herbicides, excessive water and energy consumption are all commonplace in conventional wine production.

The program that supports good, clean and fair wine already exists in Italy. The Slow Wine guide, produced by Slow Food editore, promotes small-scale Italian winemakers who make quality wines using traditional techniques, working with respect for the environment, biodiversity and terroir. Once a year the Slow Wine team and select winemakers hit the road to Asia, North America and Europe in order to debute that year’s guide and to present a selection of the best Italian wines. (More on the 2016 Slow Wine Tour here.)

Slow WineHistorically, most of the wine in Italy has been produced by families, with minimum intervention and rarely with chemical inputs. In the United States, by contrast, wine production is more industrialized, made with the techniques optimized for bringing wine to the marketplace as quickly as possible. Producers who make wine in industrial quantities are more likely to use additives with long, unpronounceable names to ensure consistency in the product. Grapes are sprayed with pesticides that damage the soil, the environment and the health of the workers who pick those grapes. As a result, the consumer ends up with wine which is pumped, fined, filtered, has less complex taste and a greater negative impact on the environment.

The good news is that the whole industry is steadily changing. Resource depletion and the consumer demand for sustainable products and services encourage local winemakers to move towards more sustainable farming practices and wine production techniques. More and more wineries across the United States are becoming environment-friendly, whether by organically growing their grapes, using biodynamic methods or following sustainable farming practices.

But how does one understand what wine is good, clean and fair? Organic, biodynamic, natural, green, eco-friendly, naked or sustainably-farmed… all these terms are confusing for the average wine drinker. To clear up this confusion, I’ll be writing a series of wine blog posts featuring different slow wine related individuals, projects and discussions that, perhaps, could be a first step forward in building a strong Slow Wine movement in the US.

In the coming weeks we will interview California wine producers to get a snapshot of what sustainable winegrowing means in practice; we will learn about a recent Slow Wine project in Oregon; and we will sit down at the table with Slow Wine team, Italian winemakers and local wine industry representatives to talk about sustainability and the future for Slow Wine in the U.S.

Cheers and stay tuned!

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A Preview of What’s in Store for the Snail of Approval Party

rislogo1This year’s Snail of Approval Party is just around the corner – Saturday, April 18 at Ris – and in addition to celebrating a new batch of awesome Snail winners, there’ll be all sorts of goodies to enjoy!!  First, Chef Ris has prepared an incredible menu for all to enjoy, including:

  • Fresh Ricotta Gnudi-smoked tomato vinaigrette, spinach and lemon salt  
  • Mini Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with mustard cream
  • Eggplant Parmesan Sliders
  • Fried Scallops on Fried Lemon with tartar sauce
  • Goat Cheese, Fig and Olive Crostini
  • Deviled Eggs
  • An assortment of chocolate and lemon tarts
  • A specialty, seasonal cocktail

Plus, new Snail of Approval winner Port City Brewing Company will be pouring tastes of their local craft beers, and new winner Meat Crafters (formerly Simply Sausage) is providing samples!

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But the fun doesn’t stop there – we’ve got an amazing selection of products and experiences from our region available at our silent auction.  Check out the list below to find out what great items you can come  bid on:

  • Gift packs from Olio Olive Oil
  • A Staub Dutch Oven
  • A Growler Pack from Port City
  • A Tasting at Barrel Oak Winery
  • MOM’s gift certificate
  • A Fresh Farms Market Gift Basket
  • A Barrel Kit from Copper Fox Whiskey
  • A cooking class with Chef Mark Haskell
  • Fermentation Crock Pottery from Artist Marlisa Jeng
  • A Le Creuset Casserole Dish
  • An incredible array of cook books from Phaidon Books
  • Coffee Classes from Vigilante Coffee
  • Autographed Washington Capitals Player Card
  • Infield Box Tickets to a Washington Nationals Game
  • Glens Garden Market CSA Share
  • Mosser Glass Crystal Cake Stand
  • Gift Certificate from Route 11 Potato Chip Company
  • A night at Belle Meade B&B in Sperryville Virginia
  • Beehive Handmade: Pewter Measuring Spoons
  • Tickets to Contemporary Vegetarian Cuisine Cooking Class with the Guiding Knife
  • Wine Tour and Tasting at Chrysalis Vineyards
  • Group tour and tasting at South Mountain Creamery
  • Distillery Lane Ciderworks Cider
  • Book Lecture and Book Nora Pouillon at 6th & I

We hope you to see you there, so get your tickets now!!

Contributors Poster Snail 2015_Final_3-1

 

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April 18: celebrate the newest Snail winners with us!

Join Slow Food DC to honor and celebrate the 2015 Snail of Approval winners! We have an exciting line up of chefs, farmers, and artisans to add to the growing roster. This unique event is an opportunity to mix and mingle with the individuals dedicated to shaping our food community while enjoying some delicious food and drink!

This year’s event will be held at RIS in DC, featuring a menu designed by Chef Ris using locally sourced ingredients, and a featured, specialty seasonal cocktail. There will also be a silent auction and other surprises from local food purveyors!

For more information on the Snail of Approval program and to see prior winners please visit http://www.slowfooddc.org/snail-of-approval/.

The event will run from 12noon-3pm. Get your tickets here.

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Snail of Approval Nominations Now Closed

Thank you to all who nominated producer of good, clean, and fair food in the greater DC area for a Snail of Approval award!  We are so excited to recognize great new local restaurants, bars, artisans, and farmers in the new year.  So be sure to stay tuned for news of our Snail of Approval Party and the next batch of winners in 2015!

Until then, be sure to learn more about the Snail of Approval here.

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2014 Snail of Approval Nominations Open

Are you a producer of good, clean, and fair food in the greater DC area? Know someone who is? Consider nominating your favorite local purveyor for a Snail of Approval award — Slow Food DC’s “stamp of approval,” as it were.

Learn more about the criteria for SOA here and for a little inspiration, check out our directory of prior Snail winners here.

Nominate your favorite restaurant, bar, market, or artisan today!

The deadline for 2014 nominations is December 1, 2014.

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Get mashed

Many thanks to Brooklyn Brewery for bringing their beer-food-arts awesomeness back to DC for the summer 2014 edition of the MASH tour!

This past Friday, I had the good fortune to secure a seat at the Slow Supper, featuring four delicious courses cooked up by the ingenious Chefs Andrew and Jacob, and perfectly paired with limited edition Brooklyn Brewery beers. (In retrospect, it was tough to pick a favorite course, as they were all so good, but I’ve a feeling I’m going to be seeking out Brooklyn’s cuvee noire — the delectable, chocolaty brew we enjoyed with dessert and which I’ve been daydreaming about ever since.) Set in an airy warehouse space in the up-and-coming Union Market area of NoMa, more than a hundred other foodies joined me and fellow SFDC board members Amanda and Rob at the dinner that benefited our local Slow Food chapter.

The dinner marked nearly the end of a week packed with fun, mostly beer-themed events, ranging from farm tours to tastings to homebrew tip sharing all around our nation’s capital. See more photos from various MASH DC events on our facebook page. And keep your eyes peeled for the next time Brooklyn Brewery comes through town, ’cause it’s sure to be delicious….

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All in a Days Work at Wangari Gardens

On Sunday, April 27 Slow Foods DC spent a beautiful spring afternoon at Wangari Gardens working to expand their communal herb garden. Located near the McMilliam Reservoir and the Washington Hospital Center, Wangari Gardens is a 2.7 acre educational community garden park that offers free garden workshops, private and shared garden plots, and youth programing alongside a pollinator hive and a fruit orchard. A group of over 14 volunteers from Slow Food DC and Wangari gardens worked together to build a 12 foot L-shaped garden bed for cooking and medicinal herbs that can be harvested and shared by the whole community. Guided by master gardeners and SFDC board members, Mark Haskell and Ibti Vincent, volunteers also planted a few Ark of Taste Fish Chili Peppers – an African American heirloom variety brought to this country from either the Caribbean or Africa by enslaved peoples to the many plantations that surrounded the early Chesapeake Bay settlements.

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The group wrapped up their afternoon of hard work in the sun with an al fresco pot luck, sharing some of their favorite homemade dishes gathered around Wangari’s home-made garden benches under the trees. It was the perfect way to pass a gorgeous day outdoors, learning new planting skills and getting to know our neighbors.

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Slow Food DC’s new community garden plot at Wangari is accessible to all who want to work in the garden, learn more about one of our regional foods and how to grow food locally, or just sample some hearty herbs of the season. So be sure to head on over to check out the garden and enjoy the fruits of our labor throughout the summer!

You can also check out Wangari’s free Sunday workshops throughout the month of May, including:

  • May 4th & May 11th – Gardening 101: Everything you need to know about starting a garden from soil prep, garden designs, plant types and more.
  • May 18th – Soils and Composting: Learn about soil, soil biology, and different systems for creating compost.
  • May 25th – Container Gardening and Companion Planting: Learn how to garden with limited space and how companion plants can enhance your garden’s production and repel pests.

Hope to see you there!

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