Are you harboring the desire to become a slow food convert? If so, "the number one and most vital way is to literally slow down, to take the time to enjoy your life and appreciate connections with others," advises Poppy Tooker, founder and leader of the New Orleans Slow Food Convivium. "This is the heart and soul of Slow Food."

Based on the Slow Food guiding values, here are other ways to join the club:

  • Make mealtime a joyful family affair. Cook together at home and share your day's events with one another.

  • Create a food tradition of your own. Bake holiday breads to disperse to familiar service people, such as the harried clerk at your post office who always takes time to greet you by name, or the man who plows your driveway so promptly in the winter.

  • Preserve the myriad traditions of the table. Asking a blessing or giving thanks for the food before you helps you give pause to consider all that went into its growth, harvest and preparation.

  • Explore the food traditions that belong to your own individual heritage. And just because your grandmother came from Scotland doesn't mean you need to have haggis for dinner once a week. Instead, experiment with her favorite recipe for buttery shortbread.

  • Choose organic foods based on season and availability. Buying locally helps support small-scale farmers.

  • Cultivate and reinvigorate a sense of community and place. Recognize the interdependence of people with one another and with our environment.

  • Promote a spirit of sharing and service. Get together with friends once a month to bake bread for the local homeless shelter.

  • Slow down your activities and enjoy life's simple pleasures. Walk when you can, nap when you need to, and don't ever push to the front of the line.

Of course, you can also get more directly involved with the Slow Food Movement. For information, visit www.slowfood.com or call 877.756.9366.