, as I was reading the web pages I'm about to talk about I thought of you and these amazing dinner parties you write about. (You should be a food writer, truly.)
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On the phone with my aunt last night, we were discussing different organizations/places where she could set up signings and readings from her book (she got the galleys on Monday!), and since it's about ethnic gardens, and immigrant gardens, I suggested things like local farmers markets (the Dallas one offers cooking classes and such) and Botanical Gardens.
In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that I was making lasagne as we were chatting, and using Pasta Barilla's “no boil” noodles. (I know, I know, I should make my own pasta. Consider this an experiment.) From there, the topic shifted to Slow Food, and she mocked me for being unfamiliar with the concept.
Basically, it's a reaction to the American fast-food lifestyle, and it includes everything from returning to the use of whole and wholesome foods in cooking, to celebrating the pleasure of dining. It began in Italy, where the celebration of dining is a national sport, really, but it's spread across Europe, and to the US. In fact, I learned just now that Dallas has it's own chapter of SlowFoodUSA.
Events range from cooking demos and lectures to gourmet potlucks called “Conviviums” at which guests are often instructed that at least one ingredient must be from a local source, and, at least with the Dallas branch, links to things like farmers who specialize in organic foods and free-range poultry, to where to find local stuff in our city-block-wide farmers' market.
Of course, now I'm dying to host a dinner party.