Foodie Underground: Good Food Takes Time

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ColumnIt’s called the “slow food movement” for a reason: good food takes time. 

I had an hour on my hands for lunch. But then one espresso turned into a second, the cafe owner and I waxed ecstatic about Stumptown coffee and craft roast, and soon an hour had turned into an hour and a half. These things happen.

I happen to have that serious affliction where I start talking about food and I can’t stop. Apparently it’s contagious. Get talking to an artisan producer and you could spend the better part of an afternoon in a conversation about the how and why of what they make. Go to the market and you’ll probably end up chatting about how to put your rhubarb to use. Visit a small brewery for a tasting and the brewer could turn into your new best friend.

These are things that don’t happen at your well-equipped supermarket or fast food chain. There is a pace to shopping and eating locally, seasonally and organically. It’s a pace determined by people that love what they do and what they eat and share a common bond with those that believe that good food takes time.

There is no denying that there is a general trend to more authentic food, even fast food companies are working hard to make their food look more natural in order to bring in a clientele that doesn’t want to buy anything that seems too over-processed. Domino’s pizza with a more rustic look, Egg McMuffins with a much less formulaic shape and such. But here’s the clincher: actual natural food will never be fast.

It’s called Slow Food for a reason. Good, real food takes time; on the farm, at the market, in the kitchen and around the table.

There was a time when we lived in harmony with daylight hours and the seasons. When a meal wasn’t a drive-thru away. We ate food only when we prepared it ourselves, and we were healthier because of it. Nowadays we buy a quick snack, eat it on the go, and are so busy checking our email over lunch that we forget what we’re even eating.

This is no way to live.

If we care about what we eat, we have to be willing to engage. Food brings people together after all. We talk, we share, we learn–be it a recipe or a better way to grow basil. If we care about our food, we have to be willing to slow down. To enjoy the moment, even if the moment is as simple as eating an apple and a handful of almonds.

“Not everyone has that kind of time,” you say.

But we have time to watch television, check Facebook, text our friends, and a whole other laundry list of things that inevitably become a time suck. Adding a couple of extra minutes in your day to ask a question about your food, or spend a few more moments enjoying your meal is a good thing. Carve out time everyday to tend to your kitchen herbs and you’ll be all the happier for it. It’s all a way to reconnect to what we’re eating and where our food comes from.

Because, the more natural you want to eat, the more time you are going to have to spend. But don’t worry, it’s time well spent.

This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’ weekly column at EcoSalon: Foodie Underground, an exploration of what’s new and different in the underground movement, and how we make the topic of good food more accessible to everyone. More musings on the topic can be found at

Image: Anna Brones


Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.