“Slow food” is a banner that has fallen out of favor here in The States, but the spirit of tradition, preservation and regionality that undergirds the movement are alive and well in what Americans prefer to call Farm-to-Table dining.
No matter how you like to decorate the philosophy linguistically, one name that can not be debated is Carlo Petrini. In 1986, Petrini founded the International Slow Food Movement in an effort to “preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds, and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem.” He saw the spectre of global efficiency looming and the danger that posed to the Italian culinary way of life exemplified in trattorias and taveras all over the provinces. Thanks to his protest and efforts, there has been a renewed interest in keeping our food communities intact, protecting our culinary memories and demanding clean, safe food at every socio-economic level.
In the spirit of Petrini’s protectionist attitude towards his country’s food traditions (and the livelihoods of the producers threatened by disconnection) we have been bringing The Italian Menu Project to our diners since [ x ]. There is so much history and nuance to Italian food than is too often underrepresented here in America, and we wanted to share our experiences and memories of that diversity with Austin.
In addition to our constantly changing seasonal menu, each month we select a region to highlight and offer a pre-fixe menu of traditional items as well as our interpretations of the regional style, made entirely with locally sourced ingredients. It’s an homage to the motherland and the homeland. It’s an opportunity for us to educate the curious on the wonder of Italian customs, in the warmest, most inclusive way we know how. And it is one of our favorite ways to show off the amazing work of our farm partners.
Farm-to-table dining is so much more than a buzzword for us. It is a representation of our roots, our community and our vision of the world we want to live in. The Italian Menu Project is a labor of love that we look forward to sharing with you and yours very soon.
For more information on this month’s featured region and menu, click here.