Slow Down!

Feel queasy after noshing a Quarter Pounder, fries and Coke? You're not alone. Fast food may be as American as Monday night football, but that doesn't mean everybody loves it. In fact, an international distaste for fast food has created a backlash in the form of an organization called the Slow Food Movement.

Founded by Italian food-and-wine critic Carlo Petrini in 1986 (shortly after the first McDonald's opened in Italy), Slow Food aims to counter the global takeover by fast food, which, according to the Slow Food manifesto, "erodes our culinary heritage in the guise of efficiency." Instead, Slow Food relishes the use of fresh regional and seasonal vegetables, fruits, cheeses, meats and wines.

The premise seems to have struck a chord. In the past 14 years, membership has claimed 60,000 foodies from 35 countries, with 30-some chapters across the United States enjoying a recent surge of popularity. Each chapter works locally to protect small, specialty food producers and promote the enjoyment of quality edibles through food and wine events — anything from a casual huckleberry-picking trip in Oregon to a show in Chicago titled "A Feast for the Senses — Food, Wine, and Art." Sound like the club for you? Visit for a list of contacts in your area, or call 877-756-9366.

— Melissa Coleman