Take it slow! Enjoy the sensual side of things. If you must be lulled into such "beauty" (one of Alice Waters' descriptors), a great way to proceed is picking up a copy of Slow Food Revolution A New Culture of Eating and Living, by Carlo Petrini and Gigi Padovani.
Learning about unique, hand-crafted foodstuffs--Santo Stefano Di Sessanio lentils or Signora (cured meat) of Conca Casale, anyone?--in the Slow Food Revolution book makes for fun and interesting reading. These descriptions give good details on exactly the sort of Slow Food Petrini has in mind with his revolution. While I'm glad Petrini started working hard at getting folks to enjoy such small batch items, and focusing on the quality of their food and meals, I think he's still got a tough road. There's no arguing with his message that our lives are better when the food we eat is of a better quality--and the producers who make it are taken care of. Good, clean, tasty, fair, sure. Of course we want that.
The history of the Slow food movement is based in Italy, and covers big societal, political, and economic changes. Carlo Petrini has saved many foods from near extinction, and improved the quality of food and dining as a legacy. Perhaps most impressive, there is now a university dedicated to learning about farming, food, nutrition, and culture. (Imagine such a place! I'm sad I wasn't able to get my degree there.) Factory food is kicked to the curb as the Slow Food participants instead seek out the local, quirky foods, many decades or centuries old. One neat trick he's managed is to get farmers and producers to get a fair and decent payment for their products. The media spotlight helps promote their products as well as give them recognition for hard labor. It's inspiring to hear how humble folks from around the globe meet via Slow Food, and learn ways to survive and improve their farming operations.
It's good that the Slow Food organization continues to grow. The members will need strength. At least in America. Who doesn't try and eat local and artisanal? My bias: I guess I read enough food blogs to think this is happening often. Sure, it's wonderful to imagine having the time and inclination to slow cook meals that are always savored and enjoyed together, with a decent bottle of wine. But what about work? Cell phones? All those other distractions we run into? One thought I kept having while reading this book is that the Slow Food movement could only have started in Europe. I'm glad they've got their priorities straight and continue to influence the citizens of the world.