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.

Vegetables

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:

Garden
  • 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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Seasonal recipe: Chesapeake Slider with Chili Salsa and Pickled Veggies   

This recipe comes from local chef and SFDC board member, Mark Haskell, who whipped these up at the Burgers and Brews for the Bay event in October 2015! It originally appeared in the September 2015 SFDC newsletter.

 Ingredients

  • mini buns
  • pickled chilies
  • pickled okra

Meat:

  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast or similar (10-15% fat), cut into cubes
  • 1/2 pound smoked bacon
  • 1 pound fresh picnic or boston butt roast, skinned (10-15% fat), cut into cubes
  • 1 cup, onion & garlic, sliced, sauteed in oil/lard/butter until soft
  • 3 TBSP dried red pepper pimenton/paprika
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs: oregano, thyme, marjoram
  • 2 TBSP Salt
  • 2 TBSP black Pepper
  • 1 TBSP cumin, toasted & ground
Chili Chow Salsa:
  • onion, diced
  • fresh chiles, diced
  • pickled Chesapeake Fish Chiles & liquid, diced
  • fresh tomato, diced
  • fresh mint & cilantro leaves, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • a little sugar or honey, to taste

Directions

MEAT

Put the meats & sauteed onion/garlic through a meat grinder, first through the large grinder, then a second time through the small grinder.

Mix in the other ingredients, mixing well so all the seasonings are evenly distributed.

Cook a small piece to test the seasoning, add whatever you want, to taste.

Refrigerate the seasoned mixture for 6 hours or overnight so flavors can come together.

SALSA

Mix together and season to taste use pickling liquid and water (or tomato water if you’ve got it) to hydrate. (Proportions are your choice for the spice level.)

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AND DEVOUR

Assemble buns with meat, salsa, and pickled chilis and/or pickled okra.

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to  info@slowfooddc.org and we’ll see what we can do.

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Seasonal recipe: Mixed Melon Salad

This recipe comes from food educator and SFDC board member, Ibti Vincent, who whipped up a batch at the Snail winning Crossroads Farmers Market during their National Farmers Market Week  celebration!  It was featured in our August 2015 SFDC newsletter.

Ingredients
Salad:
  • 1/2 red watermelon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 yellow watermelon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cantaloupe, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-2 peaches or a pint of berries, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 handful fresh basil and mint leaves, chopped into thin ribbons
  • 1 block feta cheese, crumbled or chopped
Dressing:
  • 1 tsp honey
  • zest and juice from 1 lime
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • fresh pepper, to taste

Directions

Whisk together dressing, then toss with remaining ingredients.
Keeps in the fridge for a couple of days…if you can resist devouring the whole bowl that long.
We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to  info@slowfooddc.org and we’ll see what we can do.

 

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Seasonal recipe:  Ratatouille

 This traditional French Provencal vegetable dish, original to Nice, is a wonderful way to use fresh, summer vegetables!   It was originally included in our July 2015 SFDC newsletter.

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 2-3 peppers (a mix of colors is best)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 summer squash
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Few handfuls of chopped basil
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

Chop the onions and saute in olive oil until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic. Chop all the vegetables.

Add the eggplant and peppers to the pot saute for a few minutes until soft.  Add the squash and cook for a few minutes more.

Add the tomatoes and red wine, cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 15-20 minutes.

Taste for seasoning, and add the fresh basil at the end.

Serve over polenta or with some crusty bread.

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to  info@slowfooddc.org and we’ll see what we can do.

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Seasonal recipe: Strawberry and Spinach Salad

This recipe for Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette is adapted from the FreshFarm Markets website. It is just one of many recipes that was prepared and devoured at schools around the city for  Strawberries and Salad Greens Day (May 20, 2015) — an annual event put on by DC’s Dept of Education that encourages kids to eat more fresh, local fruits and veggies. This recipe appeared in the June 2015 SFDC newsletter.

 

(Though we are SLOW Food, this salad is actually a snap to prepare.) Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, preferably organic
  • 8 cups fresh spinach, well washed and dried
  • 2 ounces arugula, optional

Directions

Heat a small skillet over low heat, add the sesame seeds and toast them for about two minutes, or just until they begin to brown. (Be careful not to burn them.) Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk the honey, vinegar, olive oil, shallot, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the sesame seeds and whisk until all are combined.

Wash the strawberries only just before making this salad. After washing, hull the strawberries and slice each strawberry into about 4 or 5 slices. Set aside.

Place the spinach and optional arugula in a large bowl and toss the dressing with the greens, ensuring all their leaves are well coated.

Place a mound of this salad on each of 4 salad plates and garnish with the sliced strawberries. Enjoy immediately. (Like we had to tell you that last bit….)

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to  info@slowfooddc.org and we’ll see what we can do.

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Seasonal recipe: Quinoa Bowls

This seasonal recipe provided by SFDC board member, Ibti Vincent. The recipe was taste tested and much beloved by 3rd graders and their parents alike. The recipe appears in the April 2015 SFDC newsletter.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa, pre-rinsed
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch raw kale, stems removed, leaves sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup lentils, pre-cooked
  • a few handfuls of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, toasted
  • Dressing or pesto of your choice
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water (or stock) and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare your toppings. Sauté onions in a medium pot with a splash of olive oil until soft (about 5 minutes). Add in garlic and kale, and toss to coat.

Continue cooking until kale wilts (another 3-5 minutes), adding a splash of water if needed to prevent burning.

In a small saucepan, saute radishes with butter on medium heat, stirring, for 5-10 minutes, until tender but still firm.

Give each person a bowl with a few scoops of quinoa, and they can add whichever mix-ins they like: kale, radishes, carrots, lentils, seeds, dressing, etc.

Notes

You can make a quinoa bowl with just about anything! Try:

  • Salad dressings: Asian sesame, sweet balsamic vinaigrette, lemon juice and olive oil, etc.
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro and/or parsley
  • ¼ cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese
  • 1 TBSP sliced raw unsalted almonds
  • other legumes in place of lentils: chickpeas, kidney or white beans, etc.
  • Leftover steamed broccoli, brussels sprouts, snap peas, sweet potato….

You can also swap in other whole grains (brown rice, farro, etc) and add leftover bits of meat/poultry for a new twist on things.

We try to feature a delicious new recipe in each newsletter. If you would like to have one shared with the SFDC community, please send it to  info@slowfooddc.org and we’ll see what we can do.

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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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