Monday, May 2, 2011

Slow Food and Just Write Books

I met with the Slow Food Seacoast Convivium in Exeter, NH yesterday. They had asked that I talk with them about two of our books. The Books were Tom Seymour’s Wild Plants of Maine: A Useful Guide and we are Sandra Garson’s How to Fix a Leek & other Food from your Farmer’s Market. Last year, Just Write Books released Wild Plants of Maine and we are currently awaiting the final edit of How to Fix a Leek.
Let me talk a little about the Slow Food group.

The Seacoast Convivium is a part of the national Slow Food organization. According to the national group’s website: “Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.” To put it another way, Slow Food is a reaction to “fast food.”

More than just a reaction. I was invited to speak and eat with this group. I can say with no reservations the group that met on May Day 2011 was gracious, enthusiastic and welcoming to this publisher selling her books. Blue Moon Café hosted the event. They do once a year. Kathleen Gallant was gracious in her participation in the group and provided a delightful wild salad and toped off the evening with a rhubarb mousse.

All members of the group brought foods that held to the theme of “Wild plants and flowers.” It was the first potluck that I attended with only one dessert offering. These people truly know how to eat and there was no feeling of lack.

Alison Magill brought stinging nettles plants in brown bags to share. I brought one home. She introduced the term “guerrilla gardening” to me. I had already been guilty but now I had a label to tag my actions of a couple a years ago when as a condo owner and having no garden space I put some rhubarb along a little lane near our condominium. Now, I’ll add stinging nettles to the edge of the lane.
This group could have been composed of people I had selected as friends—from the 16-year restaurant owner, to the couple in their 70s Dick and Ursula Bondi maintaining a healthy life and to Strawbery Banke’s historic landscape curator, John Forti. These people were bright, articulate and passionate about good food and its care and “feeding.”

All of us must take more time with our food—its origin, delivery and preparation—all matter if we wish to be healthy. Health in our homes, our communities and our nation depends on our working to make food local again. Find a group near your home: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/slow_food/.
A large part of my work at Just Write Books is choosing books that matter. Wild Plants of Maine and How to Fix a Leek easily fit this requirement and I shared the genesis of the books with the Slow Food group during our potluck of green things and afterwards during a heated discussion of food and politics. I would like to break bread with these folks any day.

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