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This article originally appeared in the columns of La Décroissance, in 2015. I found there the very principles that I intend to develop through Une Table dans le Maquis. The philosophical reasoning starts from a sensitive understanding of cooking. Does the way of eating induce being? I have a wild conviction of it. Rather than formulating it less well, I have decided to write directly to Mr. Mailler, a seasoned and jovial thinker of taste, having notably worked for Slow Food, author of impassioned and absurd works dealing with taste in all of its aspects. He kindly allowed me to publish it on my website. This brilliant article, written with great elegance and wit, is entirely to be given to its authors, since there are two of them. Pascale Brevet, granddaughter of Languedoc winegrowers, journalist and lecturer on food, now works at Terroir d'Avenir. Thanks to both of them!

Paul, fondateur d'Une Table dans le Maquis

"Slow is not the enemy of speed"

Par Pascale Brevet et Eugenio Mailler.


Slow is not the enemy of speed. She is his traveling companion, his ally against a mechanical, monotonous tempo, given by the production of nothing and the consumption of everything. The pleasure of getting dizzy while hurtling down a slope at full speed and the pleasure of slowly climbing a path to the rhythm of our thoughts are the inseparable antidotes to emergency policies that only save critical thinking.

Simmering a dish for a long time with low cuts – which the repression of an increasingly carnivorous society has made disappear from our plates – also allows us to let our ideas simmer, to eventually articulate them in a speech and to avoid falling in the opinion fair of this talk show that we persist in calling "politics". Accompanying the long cooking by reflecting on the recipe, on our gestures, by returning to the passages read hastily, by paying attention to the unique characteristics of the piece in question, teaches us again to face problems by taking into account their singular nature, without rushing to the radius of pre-packaged, standardized solutions, made of “more” (of productivity, security, precariousness…) and “less” (of costs, freedom, responsibility, solidarity…) but never of “otherwise”.

Roasting may well express our strongest emotions. Passion, desire, rage. The care of the flame becomes important to obtain a good ember which will allow the meat to keep its juices. An ember that will allow our feelings to decline over time and not be limited to a complacent narcissistic flash in the pan.

Accommodating leftovers reveals to us that constraint stimulates our creativity, that wild grass that does not grow, contrary to what we are told, in the meadows where the sheep of mass communication graze. The exercise of freedom begins in valuing what we have and who we are; not waiting for the winning ticket to paradise on earth, nor in the hypnotic carousel of the infinity of options offered to our lives by the Mass Distribution.

Shopping is mastering the anxiety of our ignorance while satisfying our desire to learn. By making a mistake, by being deceived, we recover an ancestral popular knowledge of which we have been dispossessed because, like the critical sense, it disturbs the driver of the locomotive. Relying completely on labels – useful sources of information, of course – amounts to surrendering to a GPS that makes you lose all bearings to find yourself forced to swallow only bar codes and stay on the beaten track.

Meeting farmers and craftsmen, cultivating their vegetable garden and transforming their surpluses into preserves makes us feel the complexity with which these intellectuals of the land are confronted and the hard work that is theirs. We are once again giving value and meaning to work, today under the yoke of the logic of the least expensive. A logic that makes us all poorer because it also applies to our own work.

Eating well is a luxury that we can afford by renouncing the comfort of the thousand things and activities necessary to compensate for the absence of joy and happiness in our lives trapped in an assembly line that assembles in an ever closer way. production and consumption. For example, by renouncing the infantilizing taste of prepared meals. Meals in this supposedly cheap (but often very profitable) restaurant that only serves assembly cuisine. At low cost weekends for us, but very expensive socially and environmentally.

Cooking can be transformed into an agricultural and environmental act, helping us to forge a link with the living, nature and the rural world. But we must learn to defend otium [free time] against a negotium [work time] that has taken over our lives. Control the pace of work to preserve our existence from the gears of production that threaten to crush it. And the pleasure ? Cultivating it will be the simple and effective remedy against the self-destructive impulse that has taken hold of our civilization.

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