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How about lazy summer day with Slow Food?

In my last post about hot summer in Oslo, where the Vikings went skinny dipping in fountains (scroll down to read!), I promised you some more from Oslo’s Summer Festival with the theme: ‘Norwegian Food in the Streets’. There were stands with traditional Norwegian food everywhere. The air was filled with spiced and smoked sausages, herrings, reindeer and moose stakes, a variety of fish of course and cheeses such as goat cheese. Let me give you a peek as I shot some pics with my Nokia mobile phone (click to enlarge):

This is Oslo’s main street, Karl Johan. You have a glimpse of The Royal Castle at the end of the street and to the right the east wing of the old university from the same century. Let’s have a look of what they served:

A variety of sea food

An alternative to Hamburger: fish patties and homemade honey

What really got my attention though was the stand of Norwegian Slow Food:

I must admit I’ve thought that the Slow Food was an anti-fast food movement raising their fingers against fat, fast, one taste and high calorie food, but there is much more: I was listen to the enthusiastic couple working at the stand and the more they talked, the more interesting this became to me:

Let me give you some ideas of what they talked about and what I’ve found on their website:
Slow Food believes in recognizing the importance of pleasure connected to food. We should learn to enjoy the vast range of recipes and flavours, recognize the variety of places and people growing and producing food. We should respect the rhythms of the seasons and conviviality. Slow Food has called this approach ecogastronomy. It is an attitude that combines a respect and interest in enogastronomic culture with support for those battling to defend food and agricultural biodiversity around the world. At their website, I also found some interesting figures, such as:
Today, we rely on very few crop species for human nutrition – less than 30 plants provide 95% of the world’s nutrition. In the past century, 300 000 plant species have become extinct. Since the beginning of the twentieth century America has lost 93% of its agricultural products, Europe almost 85%.

My regular readers know how I love food and the differences in how it is preserved and/or made with recipes developed through thousands of years of traditions and experience. You’ll also know how I love to sit around the table and share this food with good friends accompanied by interesting conversation, sharing everything from the daily life and knowledge in all kinds of subjects. Just you click here from my previous food posts, and you’ll see what I mean.

So now you understand why I prefer a nice gourmet kind of restaurant with a variety of food to McDonald. How about you: will you still buy mostly hamburgers or things that only ‘taste like chicken’ until it’s the only thing our cynical food industry will provide us? Or will you take care of your culture, traditions and variety? The choice is yours, what’s for dinner?

PS: I’ve been food tagged by Shantanu on his Traveller’s Tales. I’ll do it my way, so this is my return of his favor.

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  1. I love to try new foods, Renny. I would really enjoy that festival! I especially love seafood and I envy your easy access to quality fresh seafood. I’m landlocked here in Arkansas and the seafood available is mostly frozen first and very expensive.

    Supper tonight? Stir fried fresh garden green beans with a little soy sauce, oven fried fresh yellow squash and fried cubed beef steak. Yum!!

  2. thank sso much for introducing us to the idea of slow food. and the staistics you share are quite shocking! i knew there was a great loss of diversity but i really had no idea how serious it was. i do know some local garden clubs in conjunction with a historical society have been encouraging gardneres to plant what they call ‘heirloom crops’ which are different fruits and veggies which were quite common at one time but have become increasingly rare.

  3. Wonderful to share about the concept of slow food Renny :) Yes….fast food is way too fast for me to catch up.

    Just cooked beef stew for my D last weekend :)

  4. I was in Oslo on Monday, but saw nothing of the food festival then. What a pity!

    By the way, I am a Slow Food member.

  5. I have been reading a bit about the Slow Food organization lately. I love the idea that meals are to be enjoyed – prepared with local and varied ingredients and time to share a meal and not just eat. Now we just need to convince the rest of the world :)

  6. I think you know my response to your question. I am somewhat amazed at the US trend. Families no longer eat together, kitchens are considered accessories that must look good but not necessarily be functional, 5 year old houses with ovens that have never been used and cooking meaning lighting the outdoor grill. Obviously not all see the world this way but there are very many who do.

    I consider myself fortunate, cooking is relaxing, my wife loves to cook and we enjoy time in the kitchen…

  7. Right, right, right! Three times! You know as french people love the food! And perhaps too much! So your post is really a pleasure for me! You know how time we can stay at table together and it’s impossible in my family to imagine one meal without one member of the family! It’s like that! And my daughter was so suprise when she was in Finland to see that the children were eaten when they want and fast always alone in their bedroom in front of their computer!
    Fastfood can help when children are young and when you are shopping and busy! Only! More and more gardeners, who love the nature, plant in their garden varieties who were very commun at middle age and that you can’t find in supermarket or with real high coast! My only deception: I’d like to eat more ecologist but I can’t cause the prices! But I try always to buy the more simple products i can find with less additiv as possible!

  8. Renny you are so right – food is more than fuel.
    What ponders me is the fact, that in the old “days” when most people struggled for 12-14 hours each day to survive – the meals were very important for the families as a cenral “meeting place”. While to day, in Western Europe people work for 7 1/2 hours per day, and are free 2 days a week (still most common on Saturdays and Sundays)- nobody seems to have time to prepare a deseant 3-5 course meal, lasting for 3-5 hours. It’s so easy to buy “ready to eat” food…

    Unfortunatly, Anna and I had to go to Kongsvinger this weekend, else we would have been at this market in Oslo. I wish the organizers could have a permanent marketplace here.
    As a substitute, I hereby give the URL to the organisation of local producers (in English , German and Norwegian) in Norway. All worth visiting. The prices are higher than for industry food – but the quality and taste – different worlds.

    PS. You know me -that I love to shop food – to the this days food – Calibrated to the light, temperature, humidity and the setting – and then Anna takes over… sharing and cooperation and that gives so much richness in life than “ready to eat food – have no time to talk with you – I’m so busy – type of meal”.

    btw. We are so looking forward to see you both again in Mariestad – and go canoing – that’s slow nature – heavenly

  9. What a wonderful post Renny. The pictures—once again I feel that I amright there with you…And I find it amazing that your Nokia took these pictures! Fantastic…(Which one do you have, Nokis I mean….and how do you download them to the computer?? If you could email me that would be great….)

    I have never eaten a MacDonalds ANYTHING!! (LOL) True! Not a hamburger or fries or anything—in fact I have never eaten at a fast food restaurant….I LOVE a good leisurely meal, and if it is gourmet, too…that is even better! I love that you enjoy the whole process of cooking and then eating and savoring what has been cooked! YUM!

  10. What an interesting festival! This weekend we have the Taste of Little Italy happened a few blocks north of us. That’s always fun :)

  11. Ah! That was pleasant and uplifting – very warming as well as it’s mighty cold here tonight :)

    Slow food here, everything home cooked from scratch every single night. There’s not too many over-processed things in my shelves. Australian TV is under the impression that junk food is cheaper than healthy food. They tend to compare things like the cost of a bottle of coke to the cost of milk. For me – it’s so much cheaper to cook from scratch using fresh ingredients and i find junk/processed food much more expensive! I can make a fulfilling meal for my family for the same cost as McDonalds, if not cheaper.

    It’s very hard to be seasonally “in-touch” as the “super”markets are now importing produce from overseas which leads to very out-of-season produce.

    I don’t have much time to “slow shop” but might drop into the independant baker in Leura to buy a special loaf of bread that the supermarket doesn’t sell – or make it myself even. =P

    Perhaps it’s the structure of shopping which has made people “speed up” and forget how to make things from scratch with the multitude of “instant” foods lining the shelves.

    Like, “just add water” and dinner will be ready in 2 minutes. *lol* Why am i laughing? It’s sad!

  12. I LOVE the idea and slogan of Slow Food! Restaurants here should be advertising this to draw people away from junky food places. If only it wasn’t so expensive, I’d eat out a few times a week, as I don’t really love cooking.

  13. I haven’t walked along Karl Johan recently and I’m surprised that these kiosks line the street. Hmmm, I should probably go there this weekend. But I miss our very warm, sunny days, Renny! The temp has dipped a few degrees. Ugh!

  14. Oh, yes.This hungry monster like the idea of slow food.

    We always cook our dinner at home, butt I guess the Swedish and Norwegian manners aren’t that different from each other.

    There is some bad manners on the way with fast food, yes, that don’t really are so fast if you start to think about it. I hate the idea of the fast food growing and the young people not being able to cook dinner by themselves.

    There have been too many of them lately and very often that’s the parents fault, because they have never let them join them in the kitchen the right way from the beginning. There is nothing wrong with learning a kid to cook :-)

    Kids want to do the same thing as the parents or grown ups and the only keyword is to have patience and not take over the cooking for them.

    Stressed out parents says that they don’t have the time, but it really doesn’t have to take that much longer time than the fast food and what about cooking it together and actually socialize with the family at the same time? It’s hardly exist any more and that’s SAD.

    Parents are driving around the kids to all the activities instead…. or in front of the computer as someone mentioned.

    BTW: I missed you at the Stockholm Archipelago Boat Day – not interested in steamships…?


  15. Oh now that looks like so much fun! I remember all of the food markets in Switzerland and I loved that so much..

    WE don’t have much of that here or it’s only on the weekends, which for me is just too uneventful, especially since you have to drive far and wide to find that stuff..

    What a treat@! Thanks for sharing…

  16. Having married into a family of farmers, I realize how hard it is for my inlaws to eeek out a living. I have mentioned to my husband several times, that I want a cooker where I can put in a batch of dried beans, rice and a little meat in in the morning and come home to a REAL dinner! TWO thumbs UP!

  17. At all: Dear blog friends – I so much appreciate that you take your time to read and comment! This is a big cultural issue for me and I’ll thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and reaction on this phenomena.
    Let’s remember how important it is to pass over good food tradition and habits to the next generation. Let’s not run to fast in our life so we forget the verity in what a good life can offer!

  18. Slow food is an excellent movement. The farmers market, where I am on the board, recognizes slow food and the manager goes to slow food conventions….etc..its a good thing.

    Enjoy your summer, RennyBA!

  19. spiced and smoked sausage? yumyum!
    and cheese too? perfect I love it!

    about the question….hmmm how about loving dual traditions and cultures, would that be fine? hee hee hee*smile* y’know!…i love my homeland as well as i love it here in japan.

    thanks for granting my request Renny! the pictures are great…you really have a nice nokia phone.

  20. Wow I am reading this a second time!
    I must say that there is a slow food movement here in Ontario Canada too.
    There is a Toronto chef named Jamie, Kennedy. He owned the cuisine restaurant at the Royal Ontario Museum, but has moved out while they are renovating. He became friends with my Son Alex when he was only 12. Alex was the only 12 year old member of the ROM who would entertain his friends at the cuisine. Jamie took a shine to the “TWEEN” who wore dress pants and dress shirts as regular clothes, and treated Al and his friends like they were the most special people in the world. Jamie brought the slow food movement to Toronto, and his Wine bar is strictly for Convivia. Now, Alex is 21 and can enjoy the aparatif as well! My metabolic diet is slow food. All organic and each meal is a creation.

  21. I totally believe in the benefits of SLOW food, as opposed to fast food, Renny. I also love how European eating is a slow, drawn-out process, taking 3-4 hours. To me, that’s what heaven is all about! :) Sharing that kind of food over a long period of time with friends!

  22. I really love the grilled seafoods and vegetables, esp. squash. I definitely prefer the slow foods with the season. I love the fish burgers too!!! :-)

  23. This is the kind of stuff I miss living on the countryside!

    Have you been the farmers market? Lots of great slow/organic food to be found there.
    Think it’s run once a month. Can’t remember where in Oslo it is placed.

  24. Hi.Thanks for sharing interesting thoughts about Slow Food vs fastfood.
    I am the leader of Slow Food in Oslo. We are a penniless Ngo with great ideas. And it seems like Slow ideas hit home to many people around this country and around the world. :)
    Our movement is in 108 countries, and we are registering and protecting hundreds of special foodstuffs around the world. 5 of these are Norwegian products.
    To Thomas: Farmers market in Oslo starts again in August. The news is that now it will be in two locations: Majorstuen (vibesgate) and Grunerløkka (Birkelunden). August and september are great months for Farmers markets. Loads of freshly harvested vegetables and fruits. For the dates look here: http://www.bondensmarked.no

    Your welcome and you know I really believe in this concept and your thoughts and ideas – your into an important important movement – keep up the good work!
    Thanks also for your visit and enriches this post with your information.
    I’ve received your invitation for your autumn program in Oslo – I’m sure we’ll meet one day soon!

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