Slow Food Columbus hopes to show the city a more enjoyable way to eat. A driving force behind the local chapter of the international movement is Bear Braumoeller, who shared his passion for a really great meal.

Slow Food Columbus hopes to show the city a more enjoyable way to eat. A driving force behind the local chapter of the international movement is Bear Braumoeller, who shared his passion for a really great meal.

The question people usually ask is, "Were your parents hippies?" They weren't. It was just the spirit of the times. My dad was actually pretty conservative, but he was a big Alabama Crimson Tide fan. Bear Bryant was the coach.

At first , I wanted to be a doctor. My mom was a physician. She was a cardiologist, which was unusual for a woman born in the '30s. She actually talked me out of it. I always loved the model United Nations we had at school and the classes on politics. I thought, "I wonder if people can make a job out of this."

At Ohio State, I teach about the intersection of war and math. It doesn't really have much to do with Slow Food Columbus. It does give me some interest in food policy.

But I like to eat. I like to eat well. And I like people. Slow food resonates along all of those different dimensions.

In one sentence, slow food is everything that fast food isn't. It's small farms instead of big, concentrated animal feedlots. It's heritage foods and different kinds of fruit instead of just apples, oranges and bananas. In the language of the organization, it's good, clean and fair.

Bill Niman, w ho used to be associated with N iman Ranch, said i t best. He said, "You know, my pigs only have one bad day."

To put it succinctly: Get them by the tongues, and their hearts and minds will follow. Once people experience how good really good food and a convivial atmosphere can be, they want more of it. Once you think about how to get more of it, you realize that all of the things that slow food talks about - sustainability, biodiversity, conviviality - are instrumental for that end.

Three things I can't live without are coffee, a cast-iron skillet and whisky.

The best advice I've ever received was probably on my dissertation from my adviser. Eventually I realized, although he never came out and said it, that we always talked about three things. What's good about it? What's bad about it? How do we fix it? That trio of questions formed the way that I think about a lot of things.