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The New York Times this morning reports that “at the end of the summer, the gastronomic organization called Slow Food USA will host a little party for more than 50,000 people in San Francisco.

“To get things ready, the mayor let the group dig up the lawn in front of City Hall and plant a quarter-acre garden. It will be the centerpiece of the festival, ambitiously named Slow Food Nation. Events will pop up all around the city over Labor Day weekend. Fifteen architects have volunteered to build elaborate pavilions dedicated to things like pickles, coffee and salami. Lecture halls have been booked, politicians invited and dinner parties planned. Nearly $2 million has been raised. And for the first time in its 10 year history, the notoriously finicky organization has embraced corporate partners like Whole Foods, Anolon cookware and the Food Network.

“The Slow Food faithful say they want the festival to be the Woodstock of food, a profound event where a broad band of people will see that delicious, sustainably produced food can be a prism for social, ecological and political change. They also realize that it may be their best chance to prove that Slow Food, as a movement, is not just one big wine tasting with really hard to find cheeses that you weren’t invited to.”

KC's View:
It sounds like a great party…wish I could find a way to be in San Francisco to cover it.

Part of the problem that the Slow Food movement seems to have, at least here in the US, is that there are people who perceive – perhaps with some justification – that its priorities are pro-hedonist, with a leftist political agenda that is anti-technology and anti-globalization.

(It has not been my experience that most leftists are anti-technology and anti-globalization. They may indeed be pro-hedonism…though the headlines over the past few years would suggest that there are plenty of hedonists on both sides of the aisle.)

The Times notes that Slow Food’s leadership would like people to perceive it as being interested in food as being more than just about cooking and eating….that there are environmental, cultural and economic benefits in looking at food through a broader, less mass-production focused prism. And I’m okay with that…there should be certainly room for that approach in a diverse food culture.

Though I would have to admit that for me, the most important elements connected to food are, in fact, cooking and eating. Because that’s where all the pleasure is….and that’s what most important to me, even if it makes me a hedonist.