Markus Lattner knows we live in a fast food world. Rushing through the drive-thru on the way home from work is a quick, easy alternative to spending a half an hour at the grocery store and spending another hour cooking.
In this rush-rush world, though, Markus Lattner emphasizes the importance of enjoying food for the cultural experience it can be. He points to the slow food movement, which urges consumers to take an interest in how food is prepared, where it originated, how it tastes, and the global impact of the foods we choose each day.
Eating pervades every experience in life, Markus Lattner points out, from holiday celebrations with family to first dates and fun nights out with friends. But how often do we stop to think about the work that goes into getting that food to us?
Markus Lattner has found that food availability is impacted by the cost of fuel. As fuel costs go down, exports are more readily available, with America benefiting from global shipping of products. Unfortunately, Markus Lattner reports, there are other complications to shipping food overseas. Increased pollution is one of them; with a British study finding that one ship carting food cargo on the open seas can emit as much cancer-causing chemicals as 50 million cars.
Markus Lattner believes in the cause of Slow Food USA, an organization that seeks to make eating a more global experience, while keeping the environment safe for future generations. According to Markus Lattner, there are stories connected to every piece of food we eat. Many of these are agriculture-based, with the story being attached to the farmer who picked the tomato with his own hands.
One important part of supporting slow food is to eat in restaurants that support local farmers, says Markus Lattner. This isn’t easy, as many Americans eat in restaurants that are connected to national franchises. Even local restaurants keep the story behind the food on the menu under wraps, Markus Lattner points out, assuming diners wouldn’t necessarily want to know.
Markus Lattner encourages restaurants to put the story back in dining. By labeling food origins on restaurant menus, Markus Lattner believes restaurants can make the experience fun for customers. The story is often as interesting as the food itself, Markus Lattner states, and it’s not something a person can find on the menu board at a fast food restaurant.
Slow food sets itself apart by that attention to detail, Markus Lattner tells us. And, concludes Markus Lattner, hearing the cultural history and recent story of the food we’re eating can only add to the eating experience.