Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Slow Food, Expensive Food, Affordable Food

The slow food convention was in town last weekend, and I couldn't afford to go. What I did do was read articles about the festivities. Sounded like a mixture of education, action, and hedonsim by the Bay Area's comfortable. The Slow Food movement has attracted a lot of excitement as well as a fair bit of criticism. Some deserved, some simply inflammatory. I like a lot of the ideas, but feel its current practice is less than inclusive. I'm not an expert, so if any of this sounds off base, it is your duty to steer me toward understanding.

I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal the other night. The article asks whether the author can make a cheap, earth friendly, slow food meal for two for only twenty dollars? Gee, only twenty bucks? That's way out of many peoples' budgets. If twenty dollars is a cheap home cooked meal, I'd hate to see their average meal cost. I don't really think these people are elitist per se, they are just very disconnected from reality. Maybe I've got this all wrong, and the article is not reflective of any sort of Slow Food reality. Correct me if I'm wrong.

One of the constant questions raised at the convention, if my reading is correct, is why is slow food so expensive? The answer is that food is artifically cheap. Although I agree with this, it says nothing of those who cannot willingly pay more to feed themselves or their families.


Although I have stated before that I don't want to turn this into a "what I cooked for dinner" kind of blog, in response to the article, a quick pictorial is in order.

I was craving pasta, didn't want to buy any, and had some time on my hands. I looked up a few recipes and got an idea of the process.

I started with two cups of whole wheat flower. You can use white of course. We use very little white flower in this household.

Make a well and add three eggs.

Slowly mix the ingredients together, and need for eight to ten minutes to activate the glutens. If it's dry, add a little water, and or a little oil.

Cover for ten or fifteen minutes with a damp towel. Rest time! I separated my dough into three equal parts. You can do whatever you like.

I had little space, no pasta machine, and no rolling pin. Whatever. I rolled it all out using a bottle. I covered the flattened sheets with flour, rolled them up, and cut them.

Unroll, and you've got pasta.

Allow to sit for twenty or thirty.

I boiled it up for a few minutes and then we had beautiful, delicious pasta. I added pesto that I made from the basil in the CSA box from the other day.

We also threw together a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and raw zucchini. A couple glasses of wine and we had a brilliant meal for two. Gourmet I dare say. The price? About five bucks for two. We put the remaining fifteen towards caviar.


Robyn said...

Is that five bucks INCLUDING the wine?
Seriously - I agree, anyone who wonders if they can make a slow meal for less than twenty is living in a world galaxies from mine.

a said...

Yeah, it was actually. I think the bottle was something like four dollars the day before. We drank about a third of it that night. This is all very unscientific, but five bucks still sounds about right.