By Voula Halliday, Slow Food Toronto Leader
Around the table is where I learned most of the life lessons that shaped me.
It is where my mother ate silently when distressed or anxious and where I learned that silence comes from many places, and that there can be great pain when a person’s voice is stifled or drowned out. It is where I waited for the right moment to share news with everyone; and where I learned that joy lights up a room and makes my father laugh louder than thunder. It is where my grandfather would let me devour one of the canned prunes my mother reserved especially for him (I can taste them now—plumy sweetness mixed with the longing that is nostalgia). I learned that even on a tight budget, the smallest morsel can be shared. And that good health comes from this sharing too.
As part of my reflection on the Terra Madre experience, and on this note of sharing, I will first admit that it is draining to care for, cultivate, motivate, inspire, and build the awareness in others that our fork wields a mighty mighty power that can change the world. As a dedicated volunteer caregiver of Slow Food I have found it a struggle on many fronts. But somehow, in the loud and crowded 80,000 square metre arena of the Lingotto Fiere*, in between a sudden and violent bout of food sickness (from an in-flight sandwich), a schedule jam packed with meetings and the 3 day congress sessions, I managed to find a way to my restoration.
It was a simple line that Carlo Petrini delivered. Petrini is most powerful when he expresses himself in small “statement of fact” terms. They are thoughts born from personal experience, easy to digest and absorb, and come at a time when perhaps we need it most. Like water into a sponge, here’s what I took in, most gratefully: “Sleep on it. Get up in the morning, and be over the rage”.