The Slow Food Movement – the antithesis of the Fast Food that fuels America – is nothing new. In fact, Carlo Petrini who describes himself as a professional gourmet founded it in 1986. Today the movement girdles the waistline of the globe.
Petrini and his friends enjoyed sipping wine and eating foods farmed close by to his native city of Bra in northern Italy. And when McDonalds and other fast food chains arrived in Italy in the Eighties, Petrini was horrified and worried that tiny trattorias and food just like mama used to make would be become extinct.
The arrival of America’s most famous hamburger chain was greeted, in Italy as in France and elsewhere, by angry demonstrations. Instead he and his colleagues set about creating resistance to fast food by building awareness of the wealth of traditional food that was at risk.
“The strategy of penetration of McDonald’s in Italy,” Petrini wrote, “brought its own antidote.” And so 10 December 1989, the Slow Food Manifesto was released in a Paris theatre. It was a call to arms for gourmets everywhere. “Against the universal madness of the Fast Life.”
Like all human lifestyle trends, it doesn’t take long for them to penetrate the pet world.
However was the pet food recall in 2007 that made the public really aware of how important it is to feed our pets well.
And in the same way that the Slow Food Movement has suddenly become trendy in the USA, similarly so are natural homegrown pet foods. Merrick Pet Care boasts all their ingredients are home grown – nothing is imported from China. Their slogan is “ food worthy of a fork” and names such as Grammy’s Pot Pie and Big Texas Steak Tips coming out soon help bridge the gap between human food and petfood recipes.
In 2012, the company that also makes the Castor & Pollux brands became the first pet food company to earn organic certification under the USDA National Organic Program for all its Texas-based manufacturing facilities, making them the only certified manufacturer of both dry and canned pet foods.
What does this mean? It means that pet food manufacturers are taking pet nutrition seriously!
Recently I was invited to a dinner in New York presented by Slow Movement chef Kerry Heffernan and Outstanding in the Field, an organization whose mission it is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table!)
But this was a farm-to-table dinner with a twist. Chef Heffernan teamed up with Natura Pet Products the makers of Innova pet foods and took all the main ingredients in their main ingredients from their new Nature’s Table range of food to create a menu for people.
The menu was very imaginative and the food was delicious! Chef was there himself – with his dog.
Seeing the dog food ingredients transformed into creative gourmet-styled foods really brought home the message that if its good for people its good for pets too!
So next time you are shopping for pet food, answer one question; would you eat it yourself? If so, buy it …
Here is the menu created by Chef Heffernan.