Sunday, August 26, 2007

Slow Food Revolution, Mystery Creatures and Food Sheds

On Thursday, I made it down to the public library to watch a film about the Slow Food Revolution. It sounds funny, but this revolution is one revolution in which I want to partake. The movement originated in Italy, after McD's started the process of opening a franchise in the historic Spanish Steps district in rome.

I have a very fond memory of the Spanish Steps. In 1998, I spent three weeks in Italy, and on my last night there, I perused the Spanish Steps area, looking in beautiful boutiques, surrounded by well dressed ladies and gentlemen. I wore a fashionably (at the time) short skirt and a pretty summer blouse. I was slightly tan from three weeks of July sun, and I had a sense of cultural understanding, in the 'just an inkling' of the tip of the iceberg sort of way of the beautiful Italian culture. An impeccably dressed older gentleman approached me. He had shopping bags in his arms baring names of stores I hadn't dared to enter due to the "you'll never make enough money in your life to purchase even one of our shoes" ambiance. He stopped me and asked me in Italian for directions. I smiled for just a heartbeat, aware of the bittersweet of life. This exquisite gentlemen had mistaken me, an American on her first trip abroad, for an Italian. I knew that once I opened my lips, it would be all over. And, as I stumbled in Italian to say I do not speak Italian, the gentle smile fluctuated on his face for just a moment as he excused himself and went on his way. I think this last passage could serve Wikipedia as an example of "I digress."

But anyway, I bet he too, would not want a McDonald's in the treasured Spanish Steps area. So these Italians decided that if there was a fast food philosophy, then there should be a slow food philosophy to counteract it. What started out as a joke has turned into an international movement! I recommend the Slow Food Revolution film for inspiration. It shows the spirit of integrity, international community and an appreciation of the good things in life, like food, Itallian men who can turn the most simple topics into an analogy of lovemaking, and time to dilly dally, digress and be.

After the movie, representatives from the four groups who sponsored the film got up and spoke. One was from the Food Shed, a program that encourages neighborhoods to get together and share the fruits and vegetables of their labors with one another in a simple trade system.

I attended a food shed earlier today and dropped off chard, mint and basil from my garden. In return, I met a kind, earth minded group of individuals who spoke of Permaculture, communal living in Isla Vista, conditions that pear trees need to grow, etc. My triple green contribution was exchanged for an orange, a grapefruit, three pears, and two heirloom tomatoes. Queen Whackamole showed up on her electric bike and I was the happy recipient of two home baked loaves of bread, made by the Queen in her solar oven. I'd say that was enough to make my day adventurous and prosperous!

And what does all this have to do with a mystery creature? As my family dined outside at dusk, a hummingbird on qualudes hovered into the garden to visit the tomato plants. Yet it moved more slowly than any hummingbird I've seen, but still had the ability to hover in place. Then, it moved about in a drug induced bat like pattern. It looked furry, black and white, had a beak like a hummingbird and had beady, glowing eyes. We'd ruled out bat and hummingbird. We watched in utter fascination, wondering if a Malaysian insect had made its way to Southern California in a petroleum gobbling fruit shipment.

After dinner was eaten joyfully beneath an almost full moon, the baby put to bed and the husband off to his computer, I went online to see what I could find. And, it appears, we have seen a Hummingbird Moth!

1 comment:

Trekking Left said...

I wish someone would think I was Italian.