Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Forget the Drive-Thru, I Want Slow Food

Slow Food Show Haul
Originally uploaded by The Stitchin Sheep.
Whew! We're almost done with today's photo expo. I've been so busy with preparations for this past weekend's Halloween party (I was suckered into planning this sort of kids' even for our local American women's group) that I haven't had much time for anything else. It all went off without a hitch, and it's all over now, so I can relax and tell you all about it.

Actually, that's what I did in those last few posts (take a look, if you haven't seen them yet).

This post is about yesterday's fun. We all know what Fast Food is. Can't escape it, in many places, really. Do you know what Slow Food is, though? And, no, it's not when the teenager at the Wendy's drive-thru window seems a bit too slow, mentally for the task and takes forever getting your fries in that cardboard thingie.

Slow Food is a movement. An anti-fastfood movement, to be exact. It was started in Italy and is no known world-wide. Ironically, with all the fastfood to be found in the US, the largest number of Slow Food members is in the US, if I remember correctly.

Anyway, the whole idea behind the Slow Food movement is to promote small producers of diverse foods around the world. One of their biggest concepts is the idea of supporting biodiversity. The more big business takes over the food world, the fewer varieties you find for each type of product. Tyson Chicken, for example, undoubtedly breeds only one type of chicken, and that'd be the one that makes the largest, most uniform chicken breasts. Big companies want uniformity in their products. They want to be able to count on consistency. Problem is, when big food companies do this, it eventually eliminates all the wonderful variety that could once be found in the human diet. Were you aware for example, that hundreds of varieties of apples exist in the world - not just the Red Delicious, Gala and Granny Smiths?

Anyway, to shorten this ever-lengthening story...

They have shows where they... well... SHOW all kinds of yummy foods off to the world. They have workshops where you can taste all sorts of good stuff like chocolate, hams, cheeses, wine and apples, just to name a few. And, there are the stalls where producers of these goodies let you taste their products and even buy them in some cases. It allows people from diverse parts of the world to make unusual foods known to others. It's lots of fun for an exotic food junkie like myself.

In the picture here, you can see a bit of the stuff that made its way home with me. Up front is the best Mozzarella cheese you'll ever put in your mouth - straight from Italy. Just in case you weren't aware, mozzarella cheese is traditionally made from bison milk (or some such critter whose name is bufle in French - may be an ox), it would win any competition with cow's milk stuff hooves down.

Then, you've got some apples and bananas. The bananas were just there to feed the kids something when they got hungry. The apples are freebies from the workshop we attended - a local variety that's hard to find these days (though, it's not my favorite, anyway).

A little further back is a huge chunk of parmesan - again, straight from Italy. Soooo good. You could easily eat this stuff all by itself. A little pricey, at 25 euros per kilo, but having been aged for 36 months, it's well-worth the price. Behind that are two sacks of dried corns from Argentina and some wild Irish smoked salmon.

My husband is convinced that I bought the corn for the cute little purlap bags (we've already established the fact that I'm a sucker for old-fashioned packaging), but I swear it's for the food itself. I've even cooked some up in a soup for lunch. It's just an added bonus that I can string a pretty ribbon on them to make nice draw-string bags.

And, that salmon there - almost as delicious as the cute Irish guy who sold it to me. Ooops! Did I say that? Only kidding, sweet hubbie of mine. Seriously, though, the salmon was smoked for 30 hours and has a wonderful flavor you don't usually get in smoked salmon. Once again, a bit pricey, but the chance to chat with the vendor eat such yumminess was well worth it.

The other thing I purchased that didn't make it to the photo session was some fish soup. It's a delicious regional specialty, served with toasted bread and a special mayonnaise sauce named Rouille for its rusty color (rouille means rust in French). The lady I bought it from makes it herself from the fish her husband and father-in-law bring in on their own boat. It's got that homemade flavor, and since I find it to be a bit time-consuming to make, I was happy to pay her for it.

For more information about the Slow Food movement, check out this website here (notice their cute little snail logo).

And, there are specific sites for each country. You can get them with a quick little google search.