Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fast Food -> Slow Food

Image: "Fast Food" image search on Google Images

When everybody is moving towards fast food (or packaged food) there is another movement called “slow food” (back to the past). Basically, slow Food is good, clean and healthy food. The food we eat should not only taste good, but it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal or our health and most importantly, food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.

A famous philosophical statement coined by René Descartes is -- “I think, therefore I am”. Marketing people, however, have manipulated the statement to -- “I Consume Therefore I am”. Consume, consume, consume.... We are surrounded by advertisements that tell us to buy more, eat more, wear more, so on and so forth. In contrast, when we talk about the “slow-food” movement, the philosophy is that:
“We consider ourselves as co-producers, not consumers, because by being informed about how our food is produced and actively supporting those who produce it, we become a part of and a partner in the production process.”

In India, for example, we still have interaction with local food vendors (vegetable seller, small grocery shop owner, or milkman, etc.), but gradually we are adopting the super market / mall culture (especially in metro cities) where the production and consumption of food is segregated. Everything is prepared in the confines of the kitchen-hidden from view, then served ready-to-eat in a platter. So there is that human-element missing – of being able to atleast see, smell or just wait for the food being prepared; of the vendor asking you about how much spice would be okay (talk about customization!) and finally having it served hot and fresh right into your hands. That’s what we’re missing!

In developed countries, the interaction pattern is now almost gone. Kids don’t even know who is producing milk… cow or super-market?

This debate is endless, but do give it a thought when you go out eating the next time.

Few interesting links about food / packaging waste:
http://multimedia.slowfood.com/index.php?lng=2&method=multimedia&action=zoom&id=24086 “interview with Dr. Vandana Shiva”


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