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How to make Fast Food from Slow Food

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Perhaps you aren't familiar with the phrase slow food? I know it wasn't until my wife, Cindy and I became involved with Slow Food Canada several years ago that I came to know the phrase.

What is slow food?

Slow food refers to food produced or prepared according to local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality locally sourced ingredients.

In 2012 we traveled to Turin, Italy to help represent Canada at the Slow Food world exposition, known as Salone del Gusto & Terra Madre. It was an incredibly memorable experience to travel to Italy and then meet and talk with so many other food experts and producers from across the planet.

A vantage from above of a vast crowd of people at a trade convention. Terra Madre in Turin, Italy
This doesn't do justice to the immense size of Salone del Gusto!

I was asked to speak at the conference about our role in breeding and producing heirloom varietals of wheat. Again, for those who don't know, our family business is Gold Forest Grains. We farm wheat and other grains and stone-mill these grains into healthful flour products. The exact definition of Slow Food.

Slow food, in my mind, also encompasses wild food. Fast food, I don't need to explain. Fast food is the opposite in so many ways. The problem is that fast food, full of salt, sugar, and fat, is usually so addictive and tasty! So it is natural for me to want to play around in the kitchen with these hyper-local, quality ingredients that I gather from around me, and turn them into greasy salty goodness.


Fast Food Ideas!

Doner Kebab from John's big buck.

I find it generally a lot of fun to try to replicate fast food from the abundant slow food ingredients that we are always trying to acquire here at the Food Afield Podcast. This is why you'll see references to dishes I like to prepare and their resemblance to common fast food combos. Tacos. Donair Kebabs. Chicken strips and fries.

Some folks enjoy taking these phenomenal, high-end ingredients, and turning them into high-end dishes. I really appreciate those efforts too when I get to taste them, but my culinary skills aren't often up to that challenge, so I tend to stick to my comfort foods.

When I think back on past episodes of From the Wild I can recall several times where we've gone this route with our wild-derived meat ingredients. We've done hamburgers and fries, hot dogs, and donairs that I can think of off the top of my head. I am also a big fan of Ruffed Grouse "Chicken Strips and Fries", a popular meal served at local Dairy Queen franchises. In fact, as I write this, I am in the process of trying to obtain some fresh grouse. I haven't been successful yet this season...ongoing.

Seasonality is special...

As I've grown older, I am really starting to appreciate the gift of patience or delayed gratification. This attitude adjustment has really changed my life actually. Instead of being frustrated over a lack of success on any given hunting or fishing endeavor, I just look at it as one day closer to being joyful at the harvest. It will happen, eventually.

Black Bear Vindaloo by Chef Jade Berg

How does this attitude relate to this article you are asking yourself? Well, I now look forward to the seasonality of certain foods. Of course, I almost always have a freezer filled with various venison cuts. But what I am thinking of here is the treat that comes in the form of trout, cooked fresh from the stream. Grouse, that I only ever seem to get a few of each fall. These slow food ingredients are special and it is alright that they only come along once or twice per year. The last time I enjoyed a meal of chicken strips and fries was last October when I shot my last grouse. Now that I think about it, there is an old Food Afield Podcast episode called Chicken Strips and Fries! I've linked it so you can have a listen. Another episode I've recorded in the past was with my good friend, Jade Berg. It is called "Blacktail Burrito"

My next chicken-related fast food meal will have to wait until my next success on the tasty Ruffed Grouse. I came close yesterday! Stay tuned to those efforts by following along on the Instagram account or my new account over at the wonderful app Vero!

Perhaps my most favourite wild food meal of all time. Ruffed Grouse Strips and Fries!


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