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Saturday, February 14, 2004

Food From The Heart

Last night the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace held a fundraiser for Slow Food called "Food from the Heart". The vendors, all of whom I would call proponents of the Slow Food movement, offered up samples of their fare, for free or minimal cost as a way to celebrate Valentine's eve. It was a terrific evening filled with good food, fine wine, smiling faces and satisfied bellies.

Slow Food sounds like something you have to wait for. Think of sitting in a restaurant and glancing at your watch trying to remember how long ago you ordered, was it thirty minutes ago? Forty minutes ago? Geez this food is slow! Actually that's not what Slow Food is at all.

"The Pleasures of Slow Food" by Corby Kummer published by Chronicle Books not only explains the Slow Food movement but also profiles some of its heroes; people who are dedicated to preserving authentic traditions in producing food. It includes how crops are grown and harvested, animals raised and recipes lovingly offered up for the good of everybody. It's about taking the time to honor those who treat food with a kind of reverence often lost in the world of "fast food". The preface is in fact written by Eric Schlosser, author of the eye opening bestseller "Fast Food Nation".

The book is divided into three sections--the movement, the artisans and the recipes. But actually the recipe section also includes lovely introductions to chefs who created the recipes and what they are all about. It is something of a travelogue since the artisans and chefs hail from all over the world. Of course you may take particular pleasure in reading about those who are adhering to the principles of Slow Food in your own backyard. Also worth mentioning is the book's gorgeous photography by Susie Cushner, recipes I would venture to say anyone can manage and a fair dose of philosophy along the way. In other words, I highly recommend this luscious coffee-table book if you care about how food gets to your table and as the book says, about "celebrating authentic tradition, flavors and recipes".