It would be simple to define “slow food” as “the opposite of fast food” or “food that is cooked slowly.” I prefer, however, to think of slow food as food that has not only been prepared slowly but also cultivated slowly–food that has taken time, energy, sun and rain to grow it. It is not made in a factory. It does not have incomprehensible ingredients on the label.
It actually took nature and creation to bring it to our kitchens then time and pleasure to bring it to our tables.
Part of the “slow” comes from the time it takes to raise an animal or plant a seed, let it mature, then prepare it for harvest. Although we seem to devalue most slow things in our society, there’s a lot to be said for what it entails with regard to food:
- It requires observation, planning and patience which encourage us to learn from our environment.
- It brings us closer to the source of our food which connects us with our Creator.
- It can be accessible to anyone.
- It supports the health and well being of mind, body, and spirit.
Almost 2 years ago, in a “next step” to live more simply (and declutter), I looked around the kitchen and asked myself, “What can I live without?” My daughter and I were committed to having a room that not only looked more simple but functioned more simply.
The first thing to go? The microwave. Yep, I said it–the piece of equipment that provides the most convenience to a family on the go. Why did we need it? I had grown up in a home prior to microwaves, and we’d done just fine. We were a bit skeptical, but once we got used to it, we found that with minimal planning, it wasn’t much different. Food tasted better, but even more importantly, it has taught us to slow down a bit rather than eat on the go.
Next step? Donate all the extra pots and pans–all we need is a large saute pan, a small sauce pot, a larger soup pot, and a crock pot. Anything else is just taking up space. Plus, I find when I have 4 things cooking on 4 burners, I am a mess–figuratively and literally. Cooking with fewer pans has helped me enjoy cooking again–taking my time rather than trying to rush through dinner preparations and ending up too overwhelmed to enjoy the meal.
We’ve moved some of our favorite cookbooks from the little pie safe cabinet into wall shelves I upcycled from pallets. They look beautiful and also remind us of all the wonderful slow food recipes that await us each week. It’s also encouraged us to spend more quality time together planning meals rather than rushing through a store grabbing odds ‘n ends.
Finally, I strive to keep the kitchen table clean. I can’t promise that it is so every day, BUT at the very least, if there is a pile of stuff, it is small enough to be removed to an empty chair. I want our table to invite us to join together in healthy eating, share stories about our day, and linger over Saturday breakfast for as long as we’d like.
You see, slow food isn’t just about the food itself–it’s really a way of life. It’s a commitment not only to slow and healthy food preparation but also to a slow and healthy lifestyle.
Think about it, what is one change you can make to contribute to the slow food movement within your home? Hmmm, I’m wondering how many Goodwill stores will be receiving microwave donations tomorrow?!