Peggy Markel was one of the first people to bring the slow-food movement to the United States. It started in Italy, where the Boulder resident designs and directs culinary tours. Italians saw fast food taking over America and wanted to protect their trattorias and mom-and-pop restaurants from being overrun by McDonald's. Slow food was about glorifying the people who take the time to create good food those who tend the vines for wine and raise the cows for cheeses. It was about preserving the pleasure that comes with lingering over a well-prepared meal, of not becoming a culture that eats on the run.
This May, a four-day fest in San Francisco called Slow Food Nation will be a celebration of, and a conference focusing on, the cultural, political and environmental issues inherent in food and agriculture. In preparation for that event, the Kitchen, at 1035 Pearl Street in Boulder, is donating all proceeds from its Community Nights to the Slow Food project during the month of March. Community Night, which takes place every Monday at 7 p.m., is a five-course, family-style meal at which groups of friends, family, couples and singles sit down at one table. All for just $35.
Markel, who will be at the Kitchen tonight, says it's definitely a slow-food restaurant because of its dedication to quality and programs like Community Night that promote conviviality. "What's exciting about slow food is the fact that it's a movement, a philosophy," she says. "It's not just a food-and-wine club. It has political significance in the sense that we can protect what's important. That's something that has needed to happen for a long time here: awareness around food, how it affects our everyday personal lives and how it affects our neighbors and the globe. It's all in support of a sustainable approach to food and life."