While I was in Sicily I received an e-mail from Rick, a high school friend who now lives in Altuna, Pennsylvania. (We first met each other while we were waiting in line for freshman registration. After many years, we have reconnected through e-mail.)
Rick asked me if I had heard of the Slow Food movemement. While I was in Sicily I encountered a delicious cookie called cuddrireddra that has become a protected product with the help of the Slow Food Foundation.
Cuddrireddra is the almost unpronounceable Sicilian word for a tasty and crispy small donut shaped cookie from the town of Deia, about 50 km from Enna. The origin of the word is Greek kollura, a ring shaped bread. Local legends say that the cookie, which has the form of a little crown, was requested to honor the town’s princess during the Sicilian Vesper War of the 13th Century. It has been made for seven centuries with a recipe of hard wheat flour, eggs, sugar, a little lard, red wine, cinnamon and orange zest. The cuddrireddra I had were prepared in the traditional way. They are pasted on a wooden board, a scanaturi, and twisted around a small stick. The twirled spiral of dough is closed into it’s ring/crown shape and then fried in olive oil.
GOOGLE helped me discover that the Slow Food movement was founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini, an Italian journalist, in response to McDonald’s opening a restaurant in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna. It strives to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.