Slow Food Flap

Slow Food Nation is for Snobs?

Kim Severson, of the NY Times, has written an article about the upcoming Slow Food Nation festival that will be held in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend, and once again the angst bells are ringing, and once again Corby Kummer is angering people with a quote.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be the youthful, happening Woodstock they want it to be, but it certainly has the potential,” said Corby Kummer, a food columnist, book author and Slow Food board member. “It will be a failure if it is only well-dressed people over 35 from the Bay Area treating it as if it’s another Ferry Plaza Farmers Market” — a reference to the place where well-fed San Franciscans and celebrity farmers chat over perfect peaches and soft, ripe cheese.”  The Severson article is trying to be even handed in the discussion of the pros and cons of the Slow Food movement, but gives much more prominence to the supporters than to the skeptics.  I can’t decide if she was trying to be sarcastic or admiring of the cashmere truffle-hunting vest on sale at the Bra main office.

If well dressed, well-heeled people aren’t their target market, then who is? Who is going to dish out the $80 bucks or $130 bucks to attend a special dinner, or even $20 for a workshop if it’s not someone with a least a little disposable income?  I can’t get a handle on this Kummer guy; he comes off as a pompous know-it-all who is biting the hand that feeds him.

Steve Sando, of Rancho Gordo, is blogging about it, and the commenters on his blog are concerned that they won’t fit into the necessary demographic to make the event a success. Steve has also reopened a thoughtful discussion on eGullet.  I just saw a post come in on eGullet that says the NY Times got their facts wrong and Kummer isn’t on the Slow Food Board of Directors. This guy is getting under my skin!

I also have to worry about an organization that hires a ‘justice director’ so that they can be more racially inclusive. Justice director?? That’s a bit too Kafka for my taste.

The comments on the NY Times article are telling about US attitudes towards Slow Food. There seems to be resentment that anyone would actually have the time, money or inclination to ‘slow cook’.  And there’s an equal contingency that completely embrace, with the passion of the smug, the glories of eating local and organic.

This is a loaded topic and one that really strikes a nerve in many people, but there are so many aspects to consider, that to me, it’s impossible that anyone should ever feel smug or superior about the way they cook or eat.

And is anyone else wondering if those folks in the  Colbert Nation know about the Slow Food Nation? And if they do…will they get along???  Let’s all hope for peace in the Nations. 


  1. Steven Sando on July 27, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for the great post. I think Slow Food must be stealthy or stupid. I just can’t figure it out.

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