Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meeting the Slow Food Value Meal Challenge

In response to a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, people eating more fast food than home-cooked meals, and increasing rates of diet-related disease, Slow Food USA launched The $5 Challenge campaign. The organization, a national non-profit working for good, clean and fair food for all, is encouraging people across the country to cook slow food that costs no more than five dollars per person. Slow food – the opposite of fast food – is food that is good for those who eat it, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet.
“Slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food. It’s time we take back the ‘Value Meal,’” said Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA.On Sept. 17, the campaign will launch with a Day of Action where people can attend any one of the hundreds of slow food gatherings nationwide. To participate in The $5 Challenge, all one has to do is pledge to cook a slow food meal for five dollars or less, or attend a local event.

I am pleased to report that thanks to Martha Dragich, Visiting Scholar and LL.M. Candidate, the LL.M. program met the Slow Food Value Meal Challenge last Saturday with a wonderful meal.  It was a delightful gathering and a great opportunity for us all to get to know one another better, to enjoy good local food, and to prove that preparing and eating good food together can be enjoyable AND very affordable.

Martha prepared a menu for us, indicating not only what she was serving but what the ingredients were and where all the food was sourced.  It was delicious!!

Tomato-Braised Spareribs & Sausages
Spareribs & Sweet Apple Sausages: Mason Creek Farm; Onions & Carrots:          Fayetteville Farmers’ Market vendors; San Marzano tomatoes (canned): grown in the USA!
Polenta
Polenta: Ozark Natural Foods (bulk, organic)
Italian-Style Chickpeas
Chickpeas: Ozark Natural Foods (bulk, organic); onions & tomatoes: Fayetteville Farmers’ Market vendors; garlic (organic): Chert Hollow Farm (Columbia, MO); herbs: my patio (Columbia, MO)
Braised Swiss Chard (and a bit of savoy cabbage)
Chard (organic) & onion: Fayetteville Farmers’ Market vendors; garlic & savoy cabbage (both organic): Chert Hollow Farm (Columbia, MO)
Parmigiano Reggiano & Pecorino Romano (optional)
Imported from Italy, via World Harvest Foods (Columbia, MO)
Olive Oil Cake with Sauteed Apples & Pears
Cornmeal: War Eagle Mill (organic); eggs & pears (both organic): JJR Family Farm (Columbia, MO); honey: Bonne Femme Honey Farm (Columbia, MO); apples: Binder’s Apple & Berry Farm (Columbia, MO); milk (organic): Green Hills Dairy (MO); flour, sugar, & baking powder: Big Food companies; olive oil: Sicily.

Here are some of Martha's favorite strategies for preparing an affordable, yet delicious meal:

1. Eliminate one course (usually either appetizer or dessert).

2. Plan for reasonable portion sizes.

3. Use meat sparingly.

4. Use grains and beans to make the meal substantial.

5. Cook simply, using a small number of top-quality ingredients.

6. Learn how to get the most flavor from each ingredient.

7. Use strongly flavored ingredients, in small amounts.

8. Use all parts of each ingredient.

9. Use what you have on hand (staples, leftovers, foods you have preserved, etc.).

10. Buy in bulk (rather than in packages), and buy raw ingredients rather than partially-prepared foods.

Here are some photos from the event, including help with preparation of the meal from LL.M. candidates, Volha Samasiuk, Alli Condra, Ashley Newhall, and Gina Cucurullo.



 

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