Slow’s Shrewd

Three life lessons from Italy’s Slow Food Movement

Fiona Cameron Lister
8 min readApr 7, 2023

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Photo by Carlos Felipe Ramírez Mesa on Unsplash

Back in 1986, it was announced that fast food supremo McDonald’s was to open its first outlet in Rome, Italy near “the widest and longest staircase in Europe” — the iconic, beautiful 18th- century Spanish Steps. Instead of wolf’s milk, Romulus and Remus were going to be feeding from the golden breasts of Mother McDonald and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Or so they thought.

The response was characteristic of a country where one of the most popular topics of conversation between friends, family and strangers is food. Proving that the penne is mightier than the billboard, journalist Carlo Petrini and a small group of friends handed out bowls of pasta to the passing public at the site of the proposed new restaurant. Their slogan was simple, but effective: “We don’t want fast food, we want slow food!”

A revolution had begun.

Photo by Pixzolo Photography on Unsplash

Slow-forward 37 years and the Slow Food mission statement says it all: “the movement has evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach to food that recognizes the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Today Slow Food represents a global movement involving thousands of projects and millions of people in over 160 countries.” (Slow Food.com website)

I want to look at how we can learn a thing or two from the principles of the Slow Food Movement, not just where eating is concerned, but for life itself. Because God knows, we need it.

I want it NOW!

Our current post-pandemic world is obsessed with all things fast. With brains chemically changed by our 24/7 online existence, many of us no longer have (or have never had) the patience to wait too long for — well, anything really. Instant gratification is the mantra and patience is no longer a virtue but a sin.

The effect of the Internet and technology on the pace of life is not speculation or hyperbole, but scientific fact.

· Ten years ago the average attention span was 12 minutes, now it is five.

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Fiona Cameron Lister

Experienced British writer/editor/mentor in Italy | MWC semi-finalist| Loves words, history, humour, unusual subjects| Contact: fcameronlister@gmail.com