At the start of the summer we set a challenge: Eat Slow Food for a year, and tell us about it.
Susan Paul has been doing just that, with her fascinating diary which is read and tweeted around the world. We caught up with her at the quarter-way mark to ask her how it had changed the way she and her family ate.
How have you found the first “Quarter “ of your eating Slow Food for a year?
At first it really was a challenge, mainly regarding changing my routine as regards shopping and finding the most suitable and convenient places to buy what I needed. But now I am used to that I am really enjoying it.
Have you had any surprises?
Yes I have been surprised how I have enjoyed all the preparation of vegetables (scrubbing and peeling) and washing lettuce etc.
Have you missed eating any foods?
Honestly, I really haven’t missed any particular foods so far as I have really enjoyed what has been available but I expect I might feel differently in another three months.
Have you discovered any foods, which you perhaps wouldn’t have before?
Yes I have discovered raw butter, which is very special, and makes some simple things taste exceptionally good. I don’t use it all the time, just as a treat.
Have your shopping habits changed?
Yes I go to the local farmer’s market most weekends to buy vegetables which means I very rarely buy them at a supermarket. I also mainly buy sourdough bread locally. I have always bought most meat, fish and cheese at the local shops in Barnes but occasionally I go to Borough Market if I am in town where I buy the raw butter and perhaps some lovely cured ham or chorizo.
Has it changed the amount you spend on food?
Yes it absolutely has. I plan more carefully and don’t waste food, which has saved a lot of money.
What have you liked most with the challenge?
I have enjoyed focusing more on what is actually such an important part of living and I like the feeling of wellbeing that it has given me.
What has been the hardest thing?
Convincing our children (who no longer live at home full time) that “Slow Food Living” it is the way forward. They love the food they have when they come home but find it difficult to continue when they are away. They are trying to improve on this and I think they are “slowly” making some appropriate changes.
What tips would you give to anyone who was thinking of starting the challenge?
- Find shops that you like which sell good “slow food” such as eggs, bread and vegetables etc. and which are located in places that you know you can visit easily when you need to.
- Plan simple meals with the best quality ingredients you can find (this does not mean the most expensive).
- Treat the food with care and try not to waste any
You can read Susan's fascinating diary here every week, complete with beautifully shot photos. Trying to eat Slow for a year too? Do e-mail and tell us.