food 02.2.04

Fast Food/Slow Food

We're no food snobs and over the years we've eaten our fair share of Big Macs, Whoppers, White Castle belly bombers et al, but ever since we read Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation, our appetite for that sort of meal has diminished considerably. And then there's the recent story of Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker who ate only at McDonalds for 30 days (documenting the experience in "Super Size Me," shown at Sundance). In that month of Mickey Ds and nothing but, Mr. Spurlock gains 25 pounds, his liver becomes toxic, his libido is down, his cholesterol is up (from 165 to 230), blood pressure goes nuts, he gets frequent headaches and becomes depressed. Uh, check please.

The Slow Food organization is dedicated to the table as a center of "pleasure, culture, and community," as well as ecologically-sound food production, and artisanal food and wine producers. You can join for $60 a year ($75 for a couple), which gets you their magazine, newsletter, and invites to events. We also think their book, The Slow Food Guide to NYC, by Patrick Martins and Ben Watson (Chelsea Green, $20), is the single best guide to food in the city. All the good stuff (high end to hole-in-the-wall restaurants and markets) is there, with no knee-jerk and no filler. Places that are particularly in sync with Slow Food ideas are marked with a symbol. (Our only complaint is that they seem to give short shrift to Whole Foods, which would seem perfectly aligned with the Slow Food philosophy, besides being the best thing to happen to New York markets in years.) Still, even if, in typical New York fashion, the word 'slow' is anathema to you, the book is a must-have for food lovers.
Speaking of Whole Foods, the new store opens this Thursday at the Time Warner Center.

The New York Slow Food Group and winemaker Tony Coturri will have a Slow Food dinner with organic wines at Zoe, 90 Prince [Bway/Mercer] 212.966.6722, on February 17th. Call for details.

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