Last weekend we were in Turin. The reason we went was to see M. & J. who were there to participate in the Slow Food event, Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto. I had no idea what this event would be like or what this organization is about. On their web site, they describe themselves:
Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.
Delegates, like M. & J., took part in meetings and discussion with farmers, producers of every kind of food, chefs and just anyone in the food business who came from all over the world for this event. The rest of us were only allowed into the tasting and selling areas of the event, and let me tell you, it was HUGE and CROWDED! According to their site, they had 180,000 visitors and I believe it. It was held in buildings that were built for the Olympics in Turin, so you can imagine how big that is. Most of the booths were no bigger than 10 sq yards/meters and there was everything from cheese to meats to herbs and oils and wine and honey and sweets and pastas and wheat products, etc etc etc. Even gelato was for sale. A lot of the food was available for tasting and of course then you could buy. I didn’t take any photos because I didn’t think I could get anything that would capture the size of the place, it being so crowded and full. I would have needed to be in the ceiling to get a good shot!
While M. & J. were in Turin they stayed with a couple who live in the city center. We had dinner with them and had “real” Italian home cooking. No pasta, no rice, just lots and lots of fresh vegies and meat and cheese and nuts. It was delicious. Here we are at the kitchen table eating dinner:
Being at this event does get you thinking: just how much “fast food” do I eat and is that a good or bad thing? Mostly we shop at the grocery store. Some nights we eat “ping” food (pop it in the microwave and when you hear the “ping” out comes dinner). Most of the time we try to cook. I have to say though, now that the time has changed and it’s so dark when I get home from work, I just don’t want to bother. But getting over the Northern Winter Blues is a subject for another post.
I went into Haarlem this morning to do some clothes shopping. I happened to find a shop called Marqt, just a few doors down from the V&D, on the Gedempte Oude Gracht. They also have a shop on the Overtoom in Amsterdam. THIS is what Slow Food is all about! They have fresh local food, plus food from other small producers making local fresh food. I bought olive oil from Sicily in a glass bottle with a rubber stopper. They had fish that looked so fresh you could swim with them. They had lovely vegies and cheese and just everything you could ask for. So, from now on, this will be my Saturday food shopping place. Plus shopping on the open markets in the city. I really am going to try to make an effort to shop less at the grocery stores and more locally. It tastes better and feels better.
And then I started thinking about yarn. I have yarn in my stash that has been flown all over the world. I have yarn from South America. I have yarn from New Zealand. It’s fantastic to be able to have the best of the world to work with, but surely there’s high quality wools and yarns produced here in Europe? I’m going to start looking and thinking twice before buying from a US shop that has bought Australian wool that they will now ship to Europe. Is that really necessary? Unfortunately the knitting community is not as thriving in Europe as it is in the US so it’s harder to find good stuff here, but I will make more of an effort to look. And I will also buy local yarns when I’m on vacation somewhere and bring it back with me. Now, when are we going back to New Zealand?