Among the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced city, the long lines at fast-food restaurants indicate one thing about American culture: Many people do not take the time to sit down and have a home-cooked meal. But some people are trying to bring back the tradition of slow food.
Bernadette Dryden, leader of the area Slow Food USA group called Katy Trail, first became involved in the slow-food movement a few years ago after attending a series of workshops in Portland, Ore.
“It was all very inspiring,” Dryden said. “Now we have about 30 members in our local group.”
The Katy Trail group is one of 150 slow- food groups nationwide and celebrates this movement through dinner parties and events like the one that took place at Ragtag Theater in Columbia in early June. It featured products from local producers such as goat cheese, bread from various bakeries and produce items.
“Most of our members are interested in the educational component, including educating children and trying to raise local awareness. It is important to regain some of our culinary heritage that has been eroded by fast food,” Dryden said.
Originating in Piedmont, in the foothills of the Italian Alps, the movement started in 1986 in direct response to the grand opening of a McDonald’s in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna, or the Spanish Steps.
During the first years of slow food, groups were dedicated to the production of several types of food and wine while also producing guides for food and wine stores and restaurants. Now, participants are also interested in keeping food products separate from fast food, rather than grouping them all together.
“We feel it is important for people to slow down and appreciate the incredible food products that we have — our local culinary traditions as well as those around the world,” Dryden said.