Alison Leitch’s Slow Food and Pork Fat 101

I found this article pretty interesting because it explained how the Slow Food Movement started, and how she defined “endangered foods” with one of the examples being pork fat and the story behind it. Leitch didn’t mean to study pork fat at first, she was focused on ethnographic research on craft identity among marble quarry workers. The workers were eating pork fat, or lardo, on bread with an onion as a meal. Leitch was taken back by this because she was still under the notion of fat as “poison” in modern American diets. Slow Food had an impact on the national debate of new uniform European Union food and safety legislation in the late 1980s. Then in the 1990s, Slow Food developed in a large international organization that is now in 83 countries. Lardo began to get media attention and even got mentions in The New York Times in 1997 and Bon Appetit in 2000. Slow Food got so popular that it sponsors an annual food award that recognizes outstanding contributions to international food diversity.  It’s headquarters is in Bra, Piedmont but is opening offices in Switzerland, Germany, New York and Brussels. The article then moves into talking about how food has been cultural symbols in colonial and post-colonial nationalist struggles. For example, the colonial America used tea as a radical symbolic function uniting colonists of different backgrounds and to become a catalyst for boycotts, riots and revolution. Which brings me to my discussion question: What’s our generation’s food symbol? I can think of maybe the avocado, pistachios, or maybe it’s Sriracha.

Anne Meneley’s “Like an Extra Virgin”

I enjoyed reading this article partly because it was about food and partly because I grew up using olive oil in a lot of my dishes and still do to this day. The article starts out with the background mythology of olive oil and how it was given to Athenians from the goddess Athena. The health benefits of olive oil is mentioned next. Health benefits like prevention of heart diseases, breast  and colon cancer, and Type II diabetes. It also talks about how it got popular in the US, consumption in 1982 of 64 million pounds to increasing to 250 million pounds in 1994. The discovery of extravirgin olive oil is then brought into the conversation and its benefits like having the same anti-inflammatory effect as ibuprofen. It also addresses the memorable term aesthetic nausea used in culinary fashion when the Mediterranean and Italian cuisines started taking over popularity in US, away from French cuisines (which uses butter instead).   Which is where my discussion question comes from: how many of us use olive oil rather than butter when we’re cooking? As well as a follow up question: do our parents use butter or olive oil when they’re cooking? Do you think whatever they prefer influenced us? Another thing I found interesting was when you think of a “Mediterranean dish” you think of a positive thought: it’s a healthy dish. On the other side, there’s stigma when “Muslim” is mention, even though muslim is a popular religion in the Mediterranean. “The Mediterranean” makes it possible to embody the Muslim Mediterranean in a safe domain with the help of culinary arts.