Click here to hear ELV read the following script in the dulcet, harmonious tones for which he is known — on News 88.9 FM KNPR – Nevada Public Radio. Or read on to your heart’s content….
SLOW DOWN, SAVE A SALMON
If you think about it, that Thanksgiving meal you had last Thursday was a celebration of the Slow Food movement’s philosophy. That philosophy being, according to the Slow Food charter: “Celebrating food traditions of North America through programs and activities dedicated to taste education, the defense of biodiversity, and the building of food communities. Because America’s Thanksgiving feast is, if nothing else, a time to slow down and savor good food and good company.
Perhaps you were thinking about that as you were stuffing all that stuffing into your pie hole….
The original Slow Food movement started in Italy in 1986, and was prompted in part by a McDonald’s opening near the Spanish Steps in Rome. It now counts over 100,000 members in over 100 countries, with the United States having the second largest membership after Italy.
When yours truly heard there was a local chapter, and then heard a luncheon was scheduled centered around the theme of saving our wild local salmon, my reaction was: I’ll bet three people show up (and I’ll be one of ‘em), and; Nevada has wild salmon worth saving?
Needless to say, I was wrong on both counts. A crowd of 50 or so slow food foodies gathered at Nora’s Wine Bar for a leisurely lunch hosted by Gianni and Marcello Mauro. There we tasted, savored, discussed and contemplated the fate of one of America’s great wonders – the wild salmon – and heard from experts how catastrophic water management is destroying this once abundant natural resource.
The largest factor in the salmon’s decline has been the building of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. These outdated dams have effectively eliminated a fish that used to migrate into four rivers along our state’s northern border – making them so plentiful that newspaper accounts from the 1880’s spoke of salmon and steelhead being brought to Northern Nevada towns by the truckload.
By the 1930’s, thanks to …. ahem…progress, they were all gone. Now a move is afoot to provide safe passage for these fish back into the tributaries that were once their home. Las Vegas’s own Slow Food Convivium (as they call their chapters) asks us to vote with our forks – by eating wild salmon (not the yucky farm-raised stuff we take for granted these days) we create a demand for the fish, and demonstrate our commitment to a more natural (and local product).
And by paying attention to such things, we enhance our lives and our tables in all the right ways…..something holiday feasts, and the Slow Food movement, are all about.