Goin’ Back to Cali
Much to my extreme pleasure, it appears I will be going back to San Francisco, most beloved City by the Bay, over Labor Day weekend. Having recently traveled there in April, I wasn’t planning a return trip so soon. At best, I usually manage to visit my favorite American city every few years. While reading Bon Appetit magazine last week, however, I came across a full-page ad for an event that made me catch my breath. Slow Food Nation ’08, Come to the Table, will be held at the Civic Center Plaza, as well as at various locations both in and around the city. Featuring a veritable pantheon (thank you Iron Chef for the eloquent superlative!) of food activists, food policy leaders, writers, and artisan food producers, the conference offers for me all of my food heroes, in one place, for one weekend. To be able to attend such an event makes me feel like Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, managing to somehow procure a Golden Ticket. Except, of course, this event is open to the public and any able to pay. But you see what I’m getting at.
Begun in 1986 by Italian Carlo Petrini (HE’S GOING TO BE THERE!!!!!!), Slow Food represented a response to the increasing industrialization of the world’s food supply, cutting off suppliers from direct interaction with their consumers and thereby presenting challenges to the stability of global food supplies, as is now being witnessed. Additionally, such industrialization often resulted in foods stripped of their nutrients, packed with artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives, high in refined ingredients and sold at a much cheaper price than their nutritious, whole food-based counterparts. Working to counter the trend, Petrini enlisted the aid of friends and colleagues and began speaking out against “Fast Foods” wherever he could find an audience. The movement gained increasing momentum in the ensuing decades and shows no signs of slowing.
In addition to lectures on global food security and creating local food networks, the conference will highlight, in which are being gorgeously dubbed “Tasting Pavilions”, artisan food producers from across the nation. From cheese, to bread, chocolate, spirits and more, individual small food businesses will showcase their wares and allow attendees to sample. This is SO my Chocolate Factory. When I was younger and short on cash and for some reason at the mall, I would make a facsimile of a meal by sampling every offering available at Hickory Farms, Orange Julius, really anywhere with something to eat. I plan on engaging in similar satiation methods at the Pavilions. Look for detailed blogging Labor Day weekend.