Thursday, October 13, 2005

Slow Foods

Mark, of bachelor party fame, now reads this blog from time to time, so in the theme of writing letters to people via blogging, this missive is about something he brought up the other night. He and Adrienne just returned from their honeymoon in Italy last Friday. That is to say that she returned last Friday. Mark lost his passport and had to wander the streets of Milan, and then Copenhagen, for two days while waiting for a replacement passport (nobody who knows Mark is remotely surprised by this story. Such things are part of Mark's Essential Nature. Mark has fully accepted this part of his essence; when it pops up, he nods to it by saying, "Don't worry, baby. You're on the Cooper Train." Being on the Cooper Train means that something is about to go very, very not-as-planned).

They had us over on Tuesday for a post-wedding fiesta, during which we did absolutely nothing for four hours but cook and then sit around and eat. It was a four course meal wherein each courses had multiple sub-courses, and between each course were small breaks wherein we stopped to prepare the next thing we were going to eat, and also did some digesting. During the course (ha!) of all this, Mark brought up the Slow Food Movement, whose stated goal is to preserve food and the culture that goes with eating from, well, modern life.

I try to avoid, on principal, diatribes about how modern life is bad, because it really, really isn't. Modern life is pretty freaking awesome--not for everyone, obviously, and it should not be inferred that I'm advocating complacency because things are okay for you in particular. I just think there aren't many major truths that can be divined from statements that start "'X' ain't as good as it used to be" (or, frankly, the contrapuntal, "The advent of 'Y', will surely foment a revolution that creates a new utopia for all Mankind!" That really hasn't been true of much since the printing press, and even then, it's not like it ended war or world hunger). (As to the invention of the internet, see: printing press, the). And, I don't think that the rather unhealthy relationship we (very broadly speaking) have with food these days, about which I'm going to talk briefly in the next paragraph without making any definitive argument on the subject, doesn't have as much to do with "modern life," whatever one takes that to mean, as we probably generally think it does.

Jesus H. Ted, I use a lot of words.

It's no particular secret we're obese as a population, and it's no particular secret that there seems to be a fair causal relationship between that and the fact that we eat processed foods in large quantities and in short amounts of time. I think another problem, as I've mentioned before, is how far removed we've become from the process of actually acquiring and preparing our food. The only next logical step is to remove us from the actual eating of it, and I offer this, a breakfast item they sell in the cafeteria at my work, as evidence that this particular inconvenience is being worked out as well. Again, I'm not arguing for the return of The Golden Age of Sustinance Farming here, I'm arguing that removing ourselves from the actual process of gathering, preparing, and eating your food is actually tangibly harming our health. I'm not saying you gotta go out and hunt the stuff (though bully for you if you do), but I do think you have to pay attention. And jeez, might as well enjoy it too, while you're at it.

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