Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Slow Food (Crock Pot Excluded)

A couple of years ago, I heard the slogan ‘Slow Food’ for the first time. I really wasn’t sure what that meant. A few weeks ago, I was in the company of my friend, Manuela Piancastelli. Manuela, journalist and winery owner, teaches cooking classes as well in her ‘bed & wine’ in Castel Campagnano. Watching her as she cooked, I think I’ve figured it out. Good food, I mean really good food, needs time. Time in planning. Time in preparation. Time in enjoying the meal with and sharing it with a great group of people. One of Manuela’s recipes that evening was carne alla pizzaiola, meat in tomato sauce. I watched in admiration as she placed two (fresh) steaks in a terracotta pot and placed them with a couple of tomatoes and parsley (from her garden), garlic, and a splash of house wine. She lit the burner underneath and we left it for an hour as it took its time cooking. What we found afterwards was beef so tender in an amazing tomato sauce. Slow Food. One of my favorite dishes from Agriturismo Taurasi is their onion soup. The owner, Giuseppe, gave me the recipe. Basically, you sauté onions in butter until they are softened, add white wine, and let simmer for about…6 hours. Slow Food. Food that uses fresh products. Food that uses produce that is in season. I know it’s hard to find the time to cook. As Americans, it seems that we have to squeeze the time in for just about everything. We are always looking for that great recipe that requires little time. But I ask you to think back to a couple of weeks ago when we celebrated our Thanksgiving holiday. Remember the great smells coming out of the kitchen when you put the turkey in the oven. The entire house smelled great for hours as the bird slowly roasted. Slow Food. I have often tried to reproduce this grande sensation of aromas by using my crock pot. At the end of a long day, I open my front door, and smell the aroma of food that has been cooking slowly throughout the day. But the result is not the same. Something is missing. In a way, I am looking forward to the holidays when I will have more free time to try recipes passed to me by friends. Sitting in front of the fireplace in a warm kitchen and enjoying the company of those I am with over a great zuppa di fagioli or pasta e patate. Slow Food.

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