Los Angeles

In the News… Friday, August 14, 2009 (part 1)

There’s lots of news of interest to Slow Food Los Angeles members and friends in recent days, so this update will be in two parts:

pollan-nytmag-cover.png† “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch”: Michael Pollan’s recent article in the New York Times Magazine looked at food from another perspective:

Today the average American spends a mere 27 minutes a day on food preparation (another four minutes cleaning up); that’s less than half the time that we spent cooking and cleaning up when Julia [Child] arrived on our television screens. It’s also less than half the time it takes to watch a single episode of “Top Chef” or “Chopped” or “The Next Food Network Star.” What this suggests is that a great many Americans are spending considerably more time watching images of cooking on television than they are cooking themselves — an increasingly archaic activity they will tell you they no longer have the time for. . . .

Consider for a moment the proposition that as a human activity, cooking is far more important — to our happiness and to our health — than its current role in our lives, not to mention its depiction on TV, might lead you to believe. Let’s see what happens when we take cooking seriously. . . .

Pollan’s article has already provoked much commentary, and some particularly interesting points are made by Michael Ruhlman, by Leslie on the Green Fork blog, and by Tom Philpott on Grist.

† Tomato Blight: News has been spreading about the tomato blight that has affected farmers and home gardeners alike. Dan Barber of Blue Hill considers how it came about, and what is means in terms of larger agricultural issues, and Slow Food USA underscores his point by noting that “a healthy food system is a diverse food system” and the benefits of “resisting cultural homogenization” are many.

† “Everything Joel Salatin Does is Illegal”: Patrick Alan Coleman talks with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm about the history of the farm, “the tactics of ecological stewardship,” and his suggestions for making food choices.

† Speaking of choices…: New York magazine recently looked at seventeen foods that raise environmental and/or health concerns, and how to make better, lower-impact choices. Although some of the vendor recommendations are aimed at a New York readership, the guidelines are sound and the alternatives can be found in and around Los Angeles, too.

† The Food Factor: Planning magazine devotes its August/September 2009 issue to food and its role in America’s communities including “Saving Farms and Farmland,” “Where Food Planning and Health Intersect,” “When Access is the Issue,” (about underserved communities), and “Delicious in Detroit” (about using vacant urban land for food production). N.B., to access the articles online, AICP membership is not required, but registration is.

More news to come…