Subject: Slow Food (was fast food)
Hello Lisa et. al.,

I also am a member of the Slow Food chapter in Chicago. One can join a convivium pretty much anywhere in the world, directly from the Slow Food web page:

If you are uncomfortable giving credit card information over the phone, you can alternatively call (in the U.S.) the North American headquarters in New York. I think their phone number is 1-877-756-9366, and if Patrick answers, please tell him him that Joel sent you.

As simply as I can put it, this is an organization which promotes respect for food, local farms and farmers as well as the environment at large, convivial dining with friends and family, and the defence of and right to (slow) pleasure. Admittedly it's quite a broad and ambitious mandate, but they seem to bring it all together well, and intelligently. Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food movement, was just last year named Communicator of the Year, a communication Oscar awarded by the International Wine and Spirit Competition of London.

If nothing else, joining a local convivium will bring you to some wonderful food-related events, with people (almost) as congenial as those on this list.