The Slow Revolutionary

Carlo Petrini
Italy

Originally a protest, his Slow Food movement has transformed the way we think about cuisine

Who can resist the laid-back elegance of Carlo Petrini? The huge smile, the twinkling eye, the enthusiastic gestures as he talks — he’s a seducer, the Don Juan of the food world. He has changed the way we think about eating.

In 1986, Petrini founded an association called Slow Food in Barolo, a town in the wine country of the Piedmont region. The organization grew out of a protest against the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome, and dedicated itself to the protection of traditional foods and agricultural biodiversity. “The movement was almost like a game at first; we didn’t know it would explode like it did,” he recalls. In 1989, in Paris, Slow Food became international. Affiliates continue to spring up, and today Slow Food has 80,000 members in 100 countries.

Petrini, 55, has a sense of true modernity. In his concept, pleasure is the primary ingredient. When he declares that we should all “surely, slowly, fully and without excess enjoy the pleasures of the senses,” he is heir to the hedonist philosophers of ancient Greece.

He is also modern in his vision of contemporary realities. Globalization? Of course! It’s affecting all inhabitants of the planet. But, at the same time, the local roots of men and women have never been so important. Business? No problem! Petrini knows how to be critical of big agro-alimentary enterprises — and how to welcome them as sponsors. Independence doesn’t exclude cooperation.

Petrini understands that modernity is worth nothing if its price is forgetting the past. Modern technology allows me to assure the best working conditions for the personnel in my kitchens. It allows me to guarantee the exact time and temperature for cooking the dishes. That’s progress. But when it means banalizing the taste of products, that’s a step back, and, cook that I am, I rebel.

That’s where the ideals of Slow Food are the most important: the defense of products. Petrini emphasizes that there are no good products without good producers. His willingness to consider all the parameters — agricultural, industrial, commercial, ecological — constitutes the real strength of Slow Food. Petrini, finally, is modern because he concretely realizes his ideas. Slow Food today has a publishing house, sponsors an annual Taste Fair in Turin (Oct. 21-25), and presents critical reflections and essays (Petrini’s Manifesto on the Future of Food is a must-read). On Oct. 4, Slow Food will open a University of the Science of Gastronomy in Pollenzo, Italy — resolutely international, multidisciplinary and open to the corporate world: a model of its kind.

— By Alain Ducasse, France’s internationally acclaimed chef, whose restaurants have nine Michelin stars
From the Oct. 11, 2004 issue of TIME Europe magazin
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Interesting Facts regarding the Order of Succession to the British Throne

Did you know that…

  • Number 61 in succession for the British throne is the King of Norway? So if by some freak accident those 60 people die, does Norway inherit Great Britain and the Commonwealth?
  • The Romanians come in at 83, with royal princesses of the current King of Romania.  THAT would be something.
  • The Yugoslavians at 92, skips the Austrian Hapsburgs and goes to the Russians at 109.
  • The Germans pick it up at 111 and hold up to 184, where is skips the French, Italian, and Spanish.
  • The King of Sweden catches the prize at 185, and the Swedes hold it until passing it to their neighbor when
  • The Queen of Denmark assumes the throne at #214, holds the line until 226, when
  • The Queen of Greece grabs the chance at 227, when suprisingly
  • The Brits get back on the boat at 236.
  • Back to the Germans at 246 and on to the Greeks again, skipping the Spaniards again. Greeks, Germans, both again.
  • Skips the Italians again at 420.  Back to the Brits at 421. Germans. Brits.
  • Very interestingly the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip assumes the throne in his own right at #476.
  • Germans. Skips the French, the Spanish again, the Luxembourgers,  and plenty others.
  • The Queen of the Netherlands grabs the ball at 803, skips the Belgians, Austrians (again), Liechtensteiners, French.
  • Danes get it back at 951. Back to the Dutch and Germans. Dutch hold if for awhile more. Skips the Luxembourgers, again. Skips the Spanish and French – keeps on going into obscurity.
  • Still reading? Must be bored.
  • Most of those skipped are skipped because the are Catholics or married to one.
  • Crazily enough, yours truly is # 694,016.  So if by chance y’all want to abdicate, I’ll take the job.

My Pick for Eurovision 2007…

Slovenia! Alenka Gotar with Cvet Z Juga. Great song and hot video.

Runner Up: Bosnia & Herzegovina: Marija Sestic with Rijeka Bez Imena