SLOW DOWN

No, it has nothing to do with crockpots, not by definition, anyway. Think of slow food as the antithesis of fast food, and the Slow Food Movement as the antidote to the proliferation of fast-food outlets in the United States and throughout the world — and everything that that connotes not only for the way we eat but for the way we live and our very cultures.

In fact, a rebellion against fast food is how the movement got its start. It might sound apocryphal, but Las Vegas resident Giovanni Mauro confirms the truth: Carlo Petrini, who lived in Rome near the Spanish Steps, looked out his window one day in 1986 and noticed a McDonald’s going up in the neighborhood. And he declared, Mauro said, something in Italian that translates to the equivalent of "no more fast food; we’re gonna have slow food."

A movement was born. Today, it’s creeping into the Las Vegas Valley. And it has a particular allure.

From the philosophy statement of Slow Food International:

"We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. … Slow Food is good, clean and fair food."

And from Slow Food USA:

"Ultimately, it is about pleasure and taste, knowledge and choice. Slow food is also simply about taking the time to slow down and enjoy life with family and friends. Every day can be enriched by doing something slow — making pasta from scratch one night, seductively squeezing your own orange juice from the fresh fruit, lingering over a glass of wine and a slice of cheese — even deciding to eat lunch sitting down instead of standing up."

It’s an idea whose time seems to have come in Las Vegas. During the past 15 years or so, the community has honed a greater appreciation for the thoughtful selection and preparation of foods. Some three years ago, members of the board of Slow Food USA tried to start a chapter — properly called a convivium, for conviviality — in Las Vegas, Mauro said, but "it just didn’t mesh. It was a time issue" — somewhat of an irony, considering the movement’s mission. "The interest was there."

Enter Angelo Daprano, Ruth Sundback and William Wypyski, who along with Mauro are among the founding members of the Las Vegas convivium. Time isn’t as much of an issue for them.

"That’s something that Angelo and Ruth and I bring to the table," Wypyski said. "We’re all retired."

He became involved because of Daprano, a neighbor whom Wypyski calls "a unique individual." Daprano, he said, is a retired orthodontist who’s an "Italophile," making regular trips to Italy. During a language-immersion program of several months’ duration, he learned about the movement and wanted to bring it to Las Vegas. Wypyski contacted the offices of Slow Food USA in Brooklyn, N.Y., in October and the convivium began to materialize. Official approval came just last week.

"It’s a great concept," Wypyski said. "We all run too fast in life."

The other founding member is Bob Morris, a horticulture specialist with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Morris’ awareness was piqued when a film crew did a segment at the university’s experimental orchard in North Las Vegas and the chefs involved in the show expressed interest in the orchard’s products. Morris’ involvement is in keeping with his interest in developing crops that can be grown locally, promoting local producers and facilitating contact between them and interested chefs.

"People who are supporting Slow Food want food that’s local, high-quality and fresh," Morris said. The philosophy has to do with "being connected to the earth — stuff we’ve always been doing at the orchard. We need to get the consumer to understand that," he added.

Mauro, co-owner with his brother, Marcello, of Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria and Nora’s Italian Cuisine, said his role in furthering the philosophy that started in his native Italy has much to do with working with suppliers and fellow chefs and restaurateurs. Mauro has, for example, pledged to use quinces, persimmons and Pink Lady apples produced at the research orchard.

"It’s an eclectic group," Wypyski said. "We fill in the gaps for one another."

But how, exactly, will they advance the slow-food movement here? By raising awareness, Mauro said, in the interest of raising quality of life and promoting biodiversity.

Twelve seminars are being planned. A program on olive oil is to be scheduled near the end of the month. For information, call 257-5509 or e-mail info@slowfoodlv.org.

"We need to get the consumer to understand that not everything needs to be imported to Nevada," Morris said.

They’re also working on a Web site that will connect chefs and producers — "like a Craig’s List of produce," Mauro quipped.

One thing is certain, Mauro said: "We’ve got a mammoth project."

"It’s important because food, culture and biodiversity is as much a part of our heritage as having different eye color," he said. "To lose that, we lose our identity as human beings."

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0474.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like