Home Cook Hall of Fame: Carlo Petrini

We consider cooking the best method of doing dinner, because homemade food tastes best, is good for you, and brings you together with people, from family and friends to the producers who pressed  your tortillas. You already know that.

But we hardly came to this conclusion on our own: home cooking has a long history. To catch you up, we’ll be sharing the (abridged) stories of those  home-cooking heros, the chefs and reporters and cookbook authors and bloggers whose work has helped make us–and you–feel at home in the kitchen.

Today, meet Carlo Petrini.

Who He Is

Petrini is the founder of Slow Food, an eco-gastronomic organization that connects the way we create and eat food with the way we live.

His Story

In 1986, when the first McDonald’s was slated to open in his city, Rome, Petrini panicked. Could the hallmarks of Roman cuisine survive in the face of salty, fatty fast food hamburgers? He rallied together with others who worried that the loss of local food and culture would be a really big problem and founded Slow Food to center the movement. Today there are 150,000 members of Slow Food and 2000 food communities involved in more than 150 countries, according to the organization’s site.

Why He Thinks Cooking Matters

In Petrini’s view, local food cultures and systems can best support our communities. That means, as eaters, that we have to choose to buy, cook with, and eat the foods that support the people and institutions we care about. Unlike some activism, this is hardly drudgery. “Conviviality is central to our mission,” it says on the Slow Food website. That means we should slow down, skip some of our favorite convenience foods, and cook and eat with family and friends. For Petrini and Slow Food’s leaders and members, the best way to celebrate how important food is to us and our ecosystem.

Who He Hangs Out With

Petrini is often seen with  Alice Waters (founder of Chez Panisse and the Vice President of Slow Food International).

Takeaways

“Cooking isn’t just pots and pans,” Petrini said to a Brooklyn audience that gathered to hear him earlier this month. It’s not just food either. It’s about the bigger decision to cook, and then it’s about the decision to care for the world, your family, and your body through the choices you make in the kitchen.

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