With only a couple of weeks left in 2006, it is a good time to sit back, review the year that has passed, and set goals for the year ahead. For us at The Healthy Butcher, it is essential that we revisit the reason for having started the business so that we continue to strive towards our initial vision. Framed and hanging on our wall from Day One is our mission statement which states: “To ensure your food is produced the way nature intended.” To us the meaning of this statement is simple – more than anything else, it means sourcing food that has been produced organically and locally. It’s been a good year. In 2006, we have dealt with and affected the livelihood of no less than seventy local farms and educated a countless number of consumers on the product we sell, how to cook all parts of an animal (not just the loin), and to enjoy the food you consume… Live to Eat, so to speak. But, to put things into context, we have only just begun – so much yet to learn, so much yet to do.


          How often in the course of our daily busy lives do we afford ourselves moments to relish in the act of preparing and eating food? For most of us, our enjoyment of food has fallen victim to the frenetic pace of our lives and to our increasing estrangement from the natural processes by which food is grown and produced. Packaged, artificial, and unhealthy, fast food that we consume is the most dramatic example of the degradation of food in our lives, and of the deeper threat of cultural and environmental loss.


          Slow Food is an organization, or more accurately, a worldwide movement started in the late ‘80s that advocates the same principles we advocate.  Slow Food is founded on the belief that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work. Today, Slow Food has over 75,000 followers!  And to think, it all started when Carlo Petrini, armed with bowls of penne, decided to resist the steady march of fast food and all that it represents when he organized a protest against the building of a McDonald's near the Spanish Steps in Rome.


          On October 26-30, the second edition of Terra Madre, organized by Slow Food, took place in Turin, Italy. This world meeting of food communities brought together almost 9,000 people in Turin: 4,803 farmers, breeders, fishermen and artisan food producers from 1,583 food communities and 150 nations; 953 cooks; 411 professors and representatives from 225 universities; 2,320 observers and guides; 776 volunteers. Jamie Kennedy was one of Canada’s delegates at Terra Madre 2006 and we are very honoured to have Jamie write his reflections on the event for our last Live to Eat newsletter of 2006.

          Jamie Kennedy hardly need’s an introduction. He is the author of two acclaimed cookbooks, a pioneer of contemporary Canadian cuisine, and one of Canada’s most celebrated and talented chefs. The amount of positive press and reviews Jamie has received in recent years is almost overwhelming; but well deserved. His passion and advocacy for sustainable practices in agriculture, fishing and husbandry have formed the basis for his gastronomic outlook, ensuring that his patrons enjoy the best in locally-sourced, naturally-raised ingredients. One of the themes of this year’s Terre Madre 2006 was the role of the cook… and without further ado, Thoughts on Terra Madre 2006, by Jamie Kennedy.

For more information on Slow Food, visit http://www.slowfood.com or the Toronto convivial at http://www.toronto.slowfood.ca, or email Slow Food Toronto Convivium Leader Pamela Cuthbert at pamela@toronto.slowfood.ca.


For more information about Jamie Kennedy and his restaurants, visit http://www.jkkitchens.com

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The holiday season is here!  Let us help you plan you're Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holiday feasts. 

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January 2007 Schedule Online


A perfect gift for your foodie. 

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For 35 years, a display fridge that we've dubbed "Cheesy" has been housing cheeses for a family-owned deli in south-western Ontario... now, Cheesy will continue the tradition at The Healthy Butcher!  On the left, owner Mario Fiorucci & manager Nick Gaston carry a wheel of rare, Certified Organic Parmiggiano-Reggiano which was brought in to commemorate Cheesy's move to our store.  Look out for more artisanal, local, and organic cheeses!





In an upcoming Live To Eat Newsletter we plan on analyzing the "economics" of eating organic.  What is the premium you pay or would pay to buy more or all organic food?  We are looking for any individual, couple or family to share with us their typical grocery list.  All names will be kept confidential.  If you're interested in participating, please email info@thehealthybutcher.com






By Jamie Kennedy

          I remained in Italy for a couple of days following the Terra Madre Conference in Turin.  I stayed in the Piemontese region and visited Bra.  It is in Bra that Carlo Petrini’s concerns around the future of food culture crystallized into the organization known today as Slow Food.  For me, it was a pilgrimage of sorts. I wanted to see the place; I wanted to dine there.  We were a bit early for our lunch reservation so we strolled around and dropped in at Café Converso.  We had coffee and chocolate at the bar and looked around.  There, sitting in the corner, reading the paper and sipping coffee was Carlo Petrini.  Here was the man who made it possible for 6000 delegates to be transported from their villages around the world and dropped into an urban setting in Italy for a few days to hear people speak and to meet each other and share their joys and struggles about food.

          The juxtaposition of my perceived greatness of this man together with my witnessing him in an ordinary moment, reminded me that the ideology that slow food embraces is simply a set of values that all of us share.  Somewhere along the way, we got off track and the values were misplaced. Now we are in the process of correcting ourselves.  The incredible growth of the slow food movement over the last two decades is proof that we care.  Terra Madre is proof that, on an international scale, people can come together from all the villages of the world with no political agenda, but rather a common global purpose; to celebrate the provenance of their food.
 To some, this means merely putting some food on the table.  To others, it is more of an exploration of food culture.  To all, it is about making sure that food comes from local sources and that it is grown or prepared by people in their community using sustainable means with respect to proper stewardship of the land.

          I muse over the experiences of the last few days in Turin.  I am at the Terra Madre conference once more.  Two years ago I attended the first Terra Madre conference. It struck me then as a United Nations of Food.  A collage of colours from all over the world.  There were people involved with food from a grassroots level.  The conference was about sharing.  We shared knowledge, experience, food, wine, and challenges.  There was openness amongst the people of the world and recognition that what brought them all to Turin was the importance of sustaining good, clean and fair practices in the growing and production of the food we share in our communities.  People left Turin comforted and bolstered in their beliefs that work in our chosen field has no boundaries.  It is clearly a global struggle with as much diversity as there are villages in the world. At the conference there was formal communication, achieved through a series of seminars called Earth Workshops.

          The topics ranged from exploring indigenous grape varieties in Sicily to the topic of GMO in food to the idea of micro-financing as a means for supporting entrepreneurialism in developing communities.  I believe as much could be learned informally “in between classes” in the common dining area where the organizers provided lunch for 6000 every day or on the bus to one of the myriad places of accommodation that we, as delegates were billeted to.  I couldn’t help but think that Mr. Petrini understood that this natural communication between people would happen.  The importance of the dining table has been an important part of Italian culture for centuries.  What better backdrop for the people of the world to embrace the ideology of Slow Food than in a milieu where gastronomy is a reason for being.

          This year, Terra Madre chose to highlight the role of the cook.  The cook is an essential link between the grower, the producer, the winemaker, the fisher, the cheesemaker and the consumer.  The people that shake the pans, shape the loaves and sweeten our teeth are also the ones who can germinate ideas about food in people’s minds at their table.  The cooks are the ones who, in addition to learning and practicing their craft, are also aware of an additional calling.  Cooks hold a certain responsibility in our culture. Part of our responsibility is to educate people in the ideas around sustainability.  But, the first responsibility is to ourselves; we need to educate ourselves about how we can sustain the availability of good, clean and fair food in our own communities.  It almost seems cliché to talk about sourcing products locally, but it is the key point in the furthering of these larger ideals that Slow Food recognizes as so vital.  How else will we establish regional identity or differentiation unless we operate from a local point of view. The benefit is not only in developing unique identities in food culture, but also in contributing to our local economy.  In Italy, one experiences this local approach to food culture in every region.

Carlo Petrini speaking at the

opening of Terra Madre 2006

          In Piedmont, on this trip, I sampled veal braised in Barolo followed by a host of local cheeses together with wines from the villages in the region.  There is a simple gastronomical beauty that emerges from this marriage of ingredients from a local place.  This is an exercise in terroir based gastronomy that is practiced throughout Europe.  It is a practice that we as cooks from North America need to promote and practice in our own backyards. While in Europe, the focus of Slow Food is to maintain and sustain the uniqueness of regional, artisan production of food, in Canada and the United States it is more a mission of discovery to identify what will become our own local contributions to the world of gastronomy.  Canada is a fusion of so many cultures from around the world, each bringing their own culinary traditions to the table.

          Our challenge is unique.  At the same time as celebrating the world’s food cultures in Canada, we must also nurture a new cuisine that stems, perhaps, by interpreting many of the world’s food cultures through a series of criteria that satisfy a “local” definition.  In the process, something unique may emerge that may be identified with a region.  This process will take time, no doubt, but if we look again at the European model, we realize that the culinary traditions of Europe have taken hundreds of years to evolve.

If you wish to contact Jamie Kennedy, send an email to info@thehealthybutcher.com and we'll be sure to pass on the message.

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