Slow Food in Spain
The Slow Food movement has been trying since 1989 to get people to recognise the importance of what they eat and where it comes from.
The horsemeat scandal that is currently troubling Europe - it hit Italy and Spain with two Nestle pasta products being withdrawn from the sehelves - is a case in point. Scandals such as these would be few and far between (there is always some unscrupulous so-and-so somewhere) if people (re)turned to the way that the Slow Food movement advocates. In other words, food should be fresh, local and seasonal, following nature's rhythms.
The cultures of towns, regions and countries are being eroded by the rather depressing move to fast food and pre-prepared foods. It is time for each and every one of us to give serious consideration to what we eat and revive our interest in food.
It was a pleasure then to see that the market in Málaga was still doing a good trade. Counters of fish, seafood, vegetables, meats, olives, nuts and spices greeted me as I walked through the large doors into the iron building. Time and effort is made by the sellers of the food, with peppers, artichokes and potatoes stacked in such a way it makes you smile. This is what food shopping should be all about - talking to the vendor who knows the source of his goods. A fishmonger who when not serving customers is busy gutting his fish. A butcher who can prepare a piece of meat as you would like it. A greengrocer who can tell you how long the season is for a particular vegetable and when the next vegetable is due.
I truly hope that Spain turns its back on fast and 'convenience' foods. It is not as far down the line as the UK, for example, but sadly it is edging that way. Cooking fresh produce and turning it into a dish that you like, with the amount of seasoning that you like can be a pleasurable way to spend 5, 10 or 30 minutes. With a glass of local wine at hand it is a good way to unwind at the end of a day. Get the family involved, particularly the children as it will stand them in good stead for the future - the next generation of Slow Food lovers.
The recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto I posted earlier this month is a good example of using food that is in season. I am also very aware of the squash's heritage as it came from a friend's garden!