Boise State students, professors and many members of the Boise community gathered for Professor Dan Philippon’s “The Nature of Slow Food” lecture on Tuesday, March 12 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Building A-D ballroom.
Philippon, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, centered his lecture around his experiences during his fellowship to the Piedmount region in Italy and also relayed information about the philosophies of the slow food
Among these philosophies were: food should be good, clean and fair and Industrial food production is in need of reform. He also emphasized the ultimate goal of the slow food movement: educating people about the pleasures of cuisine.
David Benjamin, a junior English major with a writing emphasis, said of the lecture, “As a person who writes, Dr. Philippon was a very interesting storyteller. He has almost a non-fiction narrative style that he presented in. I found that very interesting and fun and engaging, as opposed to the standard. Mostly when you attend these lectures it’s very excessive or academic, but it tends to be very argumentative almost. This was much more of a natural flowing narrative which was very interesting.”
Philippon lectured with a great deal of personal narrative, talking about two specific regions he and his family explored in Italy: Mullino Marino and Rizzi. In both of these regions, Philippon described how he visited local venues, a flour mill and a winery and became aquainted with the artisians and operators. With his description of the faculties came history, tradition and explanation of local quality.
Everything in the winery is technically organic, but the operators refuse to acknowledge terminology such as organic or natural, because they believe it to be problematic.
Everything in the mill is organic, using only solar power and made all by hand. Instead of remaining archaic, the owners modernized the mill over time, changing their methods according to the land, switching elements such as the types of corn used and eventually using whole grains.
Jessica Nasman, a senior English major with a literature emphasis, said, “I liked that he acknowledged modern technology and how it has its place but you can still use, like they use herbs to like keep from erosion so there’s those natural
Philippon noted the complexity of the slow foods movement, integrating technology, innovation, sustainability, relationships, history, tradition and quality.
“And like solar power its a modern technology but its helping us go back to being, you know, more natural and have less of a footprint on the environment,” said Emily Anderson, a senior English major with a writing emphasis.
Philippon noted that slow food has little to do with speed and everything to do with size. Size may include product but also the people and relationships surrounding it.