Monday, March 18, 2013

Slow Food

How interesting this concept or slow food is, and how little I knew about it! I am so excited to find the International Slow Food Organization that offers so much information including an educational handbook ( Slowfood Education Handbook ) for learning about slow food with kids. This seems to be the kind of food theory I can relate to.
"Slow Food believes that by understanding more about our food and where it comes from, we will learn to combine pleasure and responsibility in our daily choices, better appreciate the cultural and social importance of food and generally, make the world a better place." 
I just love this process, it allows each of us to think and internalize information about food without instituting a lot of rules about what we can eat and more importantly what we can't eat. When I think about starting certain diets that might be better for our health I get totally overwhelmed and unhappy at the thought of limiting our options. I love to enjoy food of different cultures and restricting our diet would really put a damper on the enjoyment of traveling and life. But, slow food is so different! It opens our consciousness about what is in the food we eat and where it came from, so we really think about each individual ingredient, and as a result we want to eat better for ourselves and our environment. Being in Italy really inspires this desire, you almost can't help but want to eat more fresh and healthy foods.

Here is the Education for Slow Food manifesto...

… is about pleasure, a light and convivial occasion to feel good and enjoy ourselves

… teaches the values of slowness and respect for our own and other people’s rhythms
is learning by doing, because hands-on experience increases and strengthens educational outcomes
… values the diversity of cultures, knowledge, skills and opinions 
…  approaches topics in their complexity, favoring a multi-disciplinary approach
… means taking time to understand, internalize and elaborate one’s own vision
… is a personal journey that involves cognitive, experiential and emotional dimensions
… is nourished by its own context, giving value to memory, knowledge and local cultures
facilitates exchange among local networks, reinforcing the sense of community
stimulates curiosity and trains intuition and critical thinking
promotes change generating new and more responsible thoughts and behaviors
This open eat in kitchen makes such a difference in our lives. The girls love to cook with me in here and it is definitely a dynamic environment providing lots of light and inspiration to our experiences. There is plenty of room for Collin to run around under our feet and everyone is happy. Brooke says emphatically, "Do not make any recipes without me!"

Brooke's own Tuscan salad creation. She is a food artist! And it was so delicious.
She says, "I was born to be a chef!"

Our picnic in the country near the house. This is my kind of winter and picnic food!
Brooke says, "I feel happy when I'm out in nature."
I'll admit, Savannah is less enthusiastic about slow food and the idea of eating more healthy foods. She in her 3 year old style rebellion says, "I will only eat food that is not good for me!" I am pretty sure she will come around as she gets older, so I'm trying not to push it, while of course trying to limit those foods that are really not so good for her.

The pleasure of fresh food in the sun, wouldn't trade it for the world. 

I like this ideology because it makes me feel there is purpose and importance in a slow life. With three kids under 6, a slow life is necessary for my sanity. Trying to get us out of the house before 10:00 puts stress on all of us. I know we could do things differently, but it feels more natural to let everyone wake up at their own pace, cook a hot breakfast, then devise a plan for the day and get out of the house when we are ready. I also like basing the plan for the day dependent on the weather and how everyone is feeling. The thought of having to stick to a strict schedule that doesn't allow for illness and weather, let alone special events and travel plans just doesn't feel right to me.

Spending a few months in the country without a lot we have or need to do, was really a refreshing change to life in the city. The kids love walking around the property. They can all explore at their own pace. We are slowly working toward a garden and learning about plants despite the fact that it is still winter. I'm trying to spend more time listening and observing nature with them and enjoying it from their fresh perspectives.

Brooke says, " this is how you do it"

We were talking about putting together a menu for our lunch party with our Italian friends. Brooke wanted to write the menu. Love not having to enforce reading and writing lessons, they are motivated to write when they want to.

Brooke is copying "A Wine Country Dinner" from my mom's cookbook. Educational and personal:)

Concocting a recipe for medicine - main ingredients: honey and jam...

Another of Brooke's own salad creations, she calls it the
"Salad from around the world"
Just a walk around the property opens so many ideas. The wheat fields that surround are full of seashells, an amazing look at how this land used to once be covered in ocean! 

Collin exploring the wheat fields

Ah, the contentment of sloshing in puddles...
I have to remind myself to have patience when it comes to all of these ideas that come out of the handbook. I will probably not ever get organized enough to do all of them, and when I do, certain little people don't make organized activities all that easy. And, I get a little discouraged when I get excited about gardening and other projects and realize we won't be here long enough to see our plants come to fruition. But, some of the ideas in the handbook take place over a three year period, we have time to continue this learning journey other places and other times. 

So, we just have to make the most of every day and opportunity. At the moment, there has been a lot of activity around our property as the owners are busy pruning the trees. The grandma lives in a small apartment attached to the house and her daughter and husband and 1 year old son come over often to work together to keep up with the work. Only Monica, the daughter speaks English, but we communicate more or less with them all. Brooke loves to help them and runs outside when she sees them start work. 

Savannah is most excited by the baby Enrico, who is only a few months younger than Collin, but to her he is "like a newborn baby!" 

We only have five more weeks here, but over the next few weeks there will be a lot more spring gardening activity that we can watch and help with. Maybe our own garden won't be as thorough a project as I would like, but we will still have learned a lot from our time living a slow food life here in the Italian country.  

1 comment:

  1. I never heard about slow food but like the idea. I'm going to read the handbook and pick some activities to do with my 17months old daughter. In fact the only thing she can do for more than 5 minutes is cooking.
    And you make me want to add Italy on our trip planning. So many nice place to discover.