Across the Country, Over the River, and Through the Woods for Some Painfully Slow Food

Categories: Simmons, WTF?

Raphael Brion/
Local food shows up in big portions. Stuff from far away, not so much.
​Unless you're going to New York this weekend, you won't actually see this.

All the same, it looks like something you'd enjoy. As part of Pioneers of Change, this month's festival of Dutch design, architecture, and fashion taking place on Governor's Island, just a free seven-minute ferry haul from Manhattan, Droog, an Amsterdam-based design lab, along with a gang of independent designers, stylists, and food-centric artists too long and Dutch-sounding to list by name, is presenting Go Slow. This project was conceived as a rejoinder to an increasingly fast-moving society where the special, quiet details of products and processes often go unnoticed. Thus, at the installation's Go Slow Café, the menus are embroidered and tea bags sewn while you wait for the kettle to whistle. You wear slippers. Dishes made with produce pulled from the local garden are served in massive helpings; those prepared with ingredients flown in from faraway locales come in progressively miniscule portions -- from greens grown on site, to cheese from Tennessee, ham from Kentucky, walnuts from Chile, olives from Turkey, butter from Russia, lychees from China, and finally, ridiculously, stardust. San Franciscans, you get the idea. Curiously, to literally embody the super-Slow Food-iness of this endeavor, cooks and servers at the temporary eatery are senior citizens, presumably because they can't help but chop, stir, and sweetly shuffle through the dining room at a gentle, snail-like pace. As you enter, you're told to imagine you're visiting your grandmother for dinner. Let's just hope she's not this Granny.

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