Slow Food and the Politics of Pork Fat: Italian Food and European Identity

In Alison Leitch’s article, she begins with her personal experience of a trending American ‘fast food’ craze in Italy. Having been there in the decade past, she noticed an influx in the quick way to conquer hunger. This retro way to eat food caused a stir with some folk and the Slow Food organization was formed. Under the organization there are foods that are “endangered”. One of these endangered foods is lardo or pork fat that had become very popular in the decade Leitch was absent.

Leitch discusses how when she would entertain her foreign guest during their stay. They would visit Colonnata and have lardo-tastings, in the 1980s this was odd to the guest at first. Then in the late 90s, Colonnata became a major tour destination for international culinary tourism.

In the 1980s, the EU Food and Safety Legislation wanted to standardize the European Food industry. With their newly written legislation they would be threatening “the production of artisanal foods linked to particular localities and cultural traditions”. The Slow Foods movement is trying to keep culture in the European food cuisine. Which leads me to my question: is it too late for American food to have cultural significance?



“Like an Extra Virgin”

First off, kudos to the name. Very clever.

I enjoyed this article a lot. I really appreciated how this article began with the mythological story of Athena and Poseidon and Athena’s gift of the olive tree. I think this was important to explaining the use and technique of the olive and its byproducts. The article then shifts into explaining the boundaries of the Mediterranean. It is said that the boundaries extend to where there are olive trees growing. This mythological view on the area of the Mediterranean is very interesting to me because it brings back religion into the mix. But it’s a religion that is before the current ones.

We next learn of the health benefits of olive oil and why extra virgin olive oil is healthier. The Greeks also had low frequencies of heart disease. As heart disease trended in America, cookbooks containing the Mediterranean diet began to boom in America. So this is when the Italians took a large role. Being Italian, I grew up using Olive oil in my recipes. I had no idea that they used olive oil as a good market investment and it was not as authentic as the Greeks. This led to an industrial revolution in olive oil production. There is tension between places that are industrial and places that are artisanal.

So this is where my question arises. If this new boundary of the Mediterranean includes the areas where olives grow and oil is produced, would the lack of tradition and authenticity keep places like Tuscany and Umbria on the outskirts of the Mediterranean?

How, we ask, ought we interpret the media focus on Syrianrefugees, and how might this focus reinscribe a (racialized) distinction between “deserving” or “real” refugees and so-called economic migrants?



The media plays a large role on how we interpret the Syrian refugees. In the article “What’s Wrong with Innocence”, Miriam Ticktin describes the image of a 3-year old boy’s (Aylan) body washed up on the shores of Turkey. This image went worldwide and caused a stir in people’s emotions. However, their emotions were of sadness and not of fear of what’s really happening. The media’s focus on the tragic loss of Aylan, made people around the world feel that the boy was a deserving refugee that was lost in his voyage. The media has made it seem that the darker your skin is, the more dangerous you are. So, now when crossing seas. the lighter-toned people are on the top because they look more appealing. The media has made thousands of people across Europe and America prejudice to those of middle East origin. Especially after attacks like the one in Paris in 2015.