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Dear Matthew Alice:

My friend told me about something called the Slow Food Movement. She says it's a bunch of people who think we all should slow down and enjoy our food more, but she didn't have many other details. Is it a club? Who are these people? Are there Slow Fooders here in San Diego?

-- Marina, Escondido

Of the 60,000 or so Slow Foodies, few live in the U.S. The SFM was the 1989 creation of an Italian restaurant critic reacting to the first McDonald's in Rome, installed at the historic and charming Piazza di Spagna. Nearby haute couture shops wailed that their dresses smelled like fries. A summary of the SFM manifesto: Down with the burgerization of world cuisine! Up with traditional dishes! Down with microwaves! Up with farmers' markets! Down with eating in front of the TV! Up with cheesemakers and artisan bread and heirloom vegetables! You can join them. They have a Web site: http://www.slow-food.com.

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