One of the best movements to have come about in the last ten years has got to be the Slow Food Movement. As the name implies, it is an antidote to the Fast Food approach, but it goes beyond that. It was founded by Italians, but quickly achieved global reach.
Originally the intent was pretty straight forward: use local products as much as possible, use them seasonally, and take pride in what is around you. When my wife and I went on our Honeymoon in 2002, we drove through Italy with a Slow Food guide as the core component of our route planning. Francino had given it to us, and it was the best suggestion we had gotten in a long time.
Slow Food is now evolving, in ways that makes a lot of sense. The emphasis on local food is a positive contribution to reducing transportation costs – why use up so much energy to eat beef from across the country if a local farmer has something fresher near by. We live in a world in which people have lost contact with their food source. Even sophisticated, educated consumers don’t really spend much time thinking about where food comes from. At the supermarket, the lamb in the freezer is from New Zealand, the pork from Germany and the beef from Florida (or Argentina, if you’re lucky.)
So the next time you go out to eat, keep an eye on what’s local. Chances are its fresher, and not always available.