Cuisine Noir – Delicious Life: Slow Food recipes for sensual no-diet weight loss

by wands on March 1, 2010

(Delicious Life column, Cuisine Noir magazine, March 2010 issue)

I have an abiding memory from childhood. It involves a vegetable garden that my dad planted one spring and a pumpkin seedling that I germinated, advised by my mother or my grandmother, on a saucer between layers of damp cotton wool. Once planted, like magic the seedling produced a small pumpkin; then fueled by daily jolts of magic this pumpkin grew and grew to become a larger, and larger, and larger pumpkin.

Every morning I would go and stare at the pumpkin in awe and wonder. I was not a farm girl, you can probably tell. Then one day, just after my father said we really should think about pumpkin recipes, I ran out in the morning to see the pumpkin. And it was gone — to some with less restraint, or more desperation, than me.

I was reminded of the incredible pumpkin that disappeared when I saw a picture of Michelle Obama with a spade shortly after she moved into the White House, and read that she was planting an organic garden. The 55 varieties of veggies going in would include chard, collard greens, lettuce, a variety of chili peppers, tomatillos — and I hoped pumpkins, or at least butternuts. The garden would provide food for First Family meals and formal dinners. And it would be used to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables.

I would add “educating children about magic” to this. Because is there anything as magical as planting a seed, have it transform, and then we eat it? (Or hopefully someone did, thinking back to my pumpkin.) And isn’t it bizarre, really, that we get into eating “foods” that bear no resemblance to anything that could possibly grow on a tree or in a veggie garden? [See an update on Mrs. Obama’s garden success here.]

So, what is Slow Food?

Readers of this column have probably noticed that the “eat fresh and local” movement has been growing like a well-watered garden, at least in parts of the United States, these past two or three years. I rented the movie Food, Inc. last weekend and recommend it. When you see Wal-Mart going organic “in response to what customers are asking for,” it is apparent that what First Lady Michelle Obama is doing at the White House is part of a groundswell.

Which brings me to the Slow Food Movement. Read my story Slow Pleasures that ran in Oakland magazine and my story An Appetite for Slow that ran in Alameda magazine for a taste of the flavors of Slow Food and to meet some real people who are involved.

In brief, the Slow Food movement with its snail emblem had its origins in Italy. The name … Click on the link to read the full version of “Slow Food Recipes for Sensual, Delicious Living and No-diet Weight Loss” — my monthly Cuisine Noir Delicious Life column.

© Wanda Hennig and Cuisine Noir magazine, 2010

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