“Does it ever stop?” That is the question I hear most often from my visitors to Shanghai, especially after I take them for a nighttime walk down the Nanjing Lu Pedestrian street. Shanghai may not advertise its 24 hour open for business status but anyone who has spent time here knows that it is not NYC, but Shanghai which is truly “the city that never sleeps”.
So I was a bit skeptical when I was invited to hear about the introduction of the Slow Food Movement to Shanghai.
The Slow Food Movement champions the idea of good, clean and fair food for all. What that amounts to is the promotion of fresh, seasonal and local foods that are produced and consumed in a way that does not harm the environment, animals or our health and provides food at accessible prices for consumers while fairly supporting small farmers and producers. That is, pardon the pun, quite a mouthful.
This is not a movement that is necessarily organic or vegetarian or gourmet but this philosophy concerns itself with the idea that food should taste good naturally, that traditional foods are important and should be preserved in their authentic state and by supporting small producers, all our lives will be healthier.
Sounds great, but what does that mean for you today, and tomorrow when you are on the run from here to there with maybe a couple of kids in tow? Actually if you are interested in providing a wholesome,nutritious diet for yourself and your family, then slow foods will fit right in. People eat better when they take the time to chose fresh foods from wholesome sources, maybe that means organic, maybe that just means knowing and trusting your grocer. People eat better when they take the time to cook together and eat as a family or with friends. When we share a good meal, we eat slower and we often pay more attention to our food, the taste, the smell and the texture, that is eating well. Children will often chose a wider variety of foods when the family eats together, and variety means better nutrition. People eat better and learn more about the culture they are living in when they try traditional foods made by a local cook. These are the small steps that make up the Slow Food Movement.
Slow Food doesn’t mean you have to eat every meal at home. Look for chefs that promote the Slow Food ideas and visit their restaurants. A chef who is part of the Slow Food movement is using fresh, local ingredients and paying attention to his dishes. Now that sounds like a good meal.
I have no doubt that Shanghai will continue to operate at break neck speed but perhaps slowing down for a meal is just the thing we need to keep up the pace.
For more information check out www.slowfood.com and watch the local listings for more information on Shanghai’s new chapter, I mean convivia.
Eat Well, Live Well, Slow Down !