Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Slow Food Pledge Worked!

Read what we’re having for dinner…

It’s a fact of the new millennium: if you want to hang on you better speed up. But thanks to concepts like The Slow Food Movement, we are reminded that our basic needs—such as sharing a healthful and delicious meal among friends—never change. Reflection and togetherness make renewal possible, so why not provide the perfect zen backdrop with a dinner party that doesn’t break the bank? It’s why I decided to take the Slow Food Movement $5 Challenge. On September 17, 2011 likeminded people all over the world are attempting to make a healthy meal, using fresh and mostly local ingredients for no more than $5 per guest—roughly what a fast food dinner costs.

Tonight I’m serving Greek Moussaka Casserole for six guests, and am happy to report that the grand total for my ingredients, once divided amongst each diner, is going to be $4.89 give or take a few pennies. This Mediterranean dish was cost effective for me because I reserved some of the meat when I made grilled lamb chops earlier in the week. Simply shred the lamb and add to the skillet with the cooked veggies. Immediately add the wine and tomatoes, continuing with the recipe. Lamb’s not too badly priced at the grocery store—averaging anywhere from $5 to $8 per pound—even in light of the money saving challenge, I knew I could splurge on the red wine that goes in (and with!) this dinner.

I’m really looking forward to sitting down and enjoying this dinner with my friends tonight. I could have approached this challenge in other ways: look for a potluck or host one of my own, make a one serving dinner that cost no more than $5 or find a community event. The extreme party planner in me chose hosting a dinner instead, which I could have done even more frugally with a pasta based dish. But I don’t like being too obvious, and chose Moussaka because A. I love meat and B. Moussaka reminds me of a lasagna that uses eggplant instead of pasta, and lamb instead of beef. My next Slow Food effort might be vegan, having been so intrigued to find a popular book called, Vegan on $4 a day. This I gotta see (read).!

It’s Never Too Late to Cook Slow

Though you might be seeing this post a little late to meet the 9/17/11 challenge in time, take heart. There’s Food Day on October 24th and October, as I understand it is National Organic Harvest Month—so all the menus and table settings should be pleasing to both palate and eye. Besides that, Food Day and Slow Food have much in common. Here are some of the cornerstones in thinking and eating that they share:
• Eat together
• Buy Organic
• Avoid genetically modified food
• Conserve, compost and recycle
• Try making things from scratch
• Learn your region’s food story

These items are critical to the Movement’s initiative of taking back, or rather rejecting “the value meal”. The Slow Food Movement said it best: fresh, seasonal food shouldn’t cost more than fast food. Fruit should be easier to buy than Fruit Loops—and to prove it, we’re going to make something with 10 times the love and care of a drive-thru but at the same $5 price. For more background on this day and its campaign, read frequently asked questions or their website—you can click here for $5 cooking tips and recipes. Know this, too: if moussaka isn’t quite what you had in mind for your next Slow Food dinner, please write to me and I’ll send you something more ideal in two flicks of a lamb’s tail.


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