Extra Credit-Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic- Idy Tam

After attending to David Szanto’s presentation on the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Northern Italy, I learned both about both the Slow Food Organization and the university. One of the main questions that Szanto’s focused on is “What is Gastronomy?” Szanto explained the definition as the “law of the stomach”, with “gaster” meaning stomach and “nomia” meaning law.  He then proceeded to talk about the connection between food and culture. I began to reflect how important certain foods are to certain cultures, regardless to its nutrition values. In addition, people immediately associate, let’s say, Italians with pasta, Japanese with sushi, and Americans? What is strange is that Americans are widely known as fast food consumers.

Szanto’s presentation about Slow Food explained about an organization aimed against the idea of fast food. The organization was founded in 1989 to offset the concept of fast life and to endorse the idea of “truly tasting food.” In the capitalistic America, the busy streets and busy life, leaves many people a limited amount of time to really enjoy a healthy and delicious meal. Many busy people are left with the choice to drive their cars through the McDonald’s drive through and order themselves a “quick” meal, which consists of a big mac meal, supersized, with 20 pieces of chicken nuggets and an ice cream sundae. Probably most people would not order that much for themselves for one meal, but if we calculate the calories and fat content in this meal, it exceeds what one should consume in several days.

Szanto demonstrated that although eating is a need for daily living, the idea of eating to enjoy has become lost in many cultures, like that of the American. He also mentioned that Slow Food is aimed to protect the heritage of food. If we help spread this concept of preserving the importance of how food is for a culture, we can encourage people to stay away from fast food. We can probably develop a certain dish that people can associate with the Americans. In addition, Szanto also introduced us to the University of Gastronomic Sciences and the classes that the program has to offer.  He explained that most of the courses dealt with food and that there would even be many opportunities for students to go to different places to explore the food of different cultures.

When I saw first saw the name of the presentation, it really reminded me of the movie Fast Food Nation. If Eric Schlosser had addressed the Slow Food organization as a resolution to the obesity problem in America, it might work out! The Slow Food Organization has several objectives, which is forming and sustaining seed banks to preserve heirloom varieties in cooperation with local food systems, preserving and promoting local and traditional food products, along with their lore and preparation, educating consumers about the risks of fast food, and more. Through this, they desire to provide “good, clean, fair” food.

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