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Frolicking with FraLi
Local artisanal pasta company fights against the processed food monopoly

OUR FOOD industry is continuing to evolve and transform as our collective consciousness does the same. Knowing where your food is coming from, who is cooking it, and the intention behind the methods of growth and cultivation is just as important as the flavors that are being created.

We need to seek out those who incorporate responsible practices when cultivating the land and feeding the people.

Food is one of the few things we cannot live without, so you would think people would pay more attention to it, right? But in fact, that is unfortunately far from reality, and most people are further detached from what is in their food than they are with their third grade math teacher.

We need to help raise the awareness about the dangers of processed foods, especially in the low income communities. Low income communities are the ones most at risk, because those areas are usually paired with the worst schools, therefore children lack the education and their families lack the resources required to purchase food that isn’t processed.

How far off the beaten path have we traveled, where we are in a place where food that is good for you is more expensive than the food that will slowly kill you?

One of the ways to combat processed food is to cook at home. Carving time out every day to make sure to cook a meal at home, with family, can be the spark needed to break the mold. Talking about the food, tasting it, and understanding where it comes from is vital in breaking the cycle of miseducation.

- photo by Melissa DeLynn

I was lucky enough to grow up as a kid with a good friend whose family owned a business such as this. After shape shifting a few times, FraLi Gourmet found its niche when they decided to manufacture their pasta recipes on a larger scale.

Moving from their large warehouse to their current location downtown a few years ago has given them the opportunity to provide a more intimate relationship with their customers, as well as an amazing lunch menu.

I got the opportunity to sit down with Lisa and Frank, and their first born Matteo, to get a first hand look at what they are intending to accomplish with FraLi (short for Frank and Lisa, of course).

“Too many restaurants are going with prebagged pasta, from these big distribution companies. You will never see those trucks around here,” Lisa says.

Creating a culture of authenticity through the execution of the food is why you can taste the difference in the pasta immediately. Pasta that legitimately tastes like your Italian grandmother put her love into it.

Watching the attention to detail, and understanding the values held in those recipes and the traditions behind those recipes, gives you the context in order to see the bigger picture.

- photo by Melissa DeLynn

FraLi is doing more than just preparing the best pasta available, but through their actions, they are attempting to educate our communities of the health benefits of eating food that isn’t processed.

The simple explanation of the difference between pasta naturally drying vs. the controlled dry, made the lightbulb click in my head.

Lisa explains, “Good carbs are great for your body, and burn so that the body can have the energy it needs to fight the day/ Complex carbs are the ones the body cannot break down as easily, therefore most of it doesn’t get fully digested.”

Matteo further explains, “The protein from the egg combines with the carbs in the flour to produce a complex carb due to the factory process of drying. Naturally drying pasta allows there to be a layer of protein and carbohydrates, which allows the body to digest them separately, and fully. Something as simple as the execution of drying can affect how your body reacts to a carbohydrate. And the health benefits do not stop there; reading each pasta’s label will give you a peek into what each different type of pasta can provide your body with.”

For example, their “Peach Gnocchetti Sardi” contains potassium which helps promote longevity, it is high and antioxidants, and a rich source of Vitamin C. Peaches are also rich in Beta-Carotene, which the body turns into Vitamin A.

Every single one of their products has a story, all of which can help you understand the importance of fresh whole foods in their body. They offer pasta that is gluten free in addition to whole grain.

Simply, artisan pasta prepared in small batches in order to insure quality. Everything is handmade, and most of it is made straight from scratch.

- photo by Melissa DeLynn

Oh and don’t forget about their cooking classes. Sign up through their website and social media, and have a night with your friends and family, learning how to make staples such as fresh mozzarella, the way it’s supposed to be made.

Knowing who is preparing your food, why, and how, are questions we need to be asking more often. We have simply become too detached as a culture from where our food comes from. We need to get better at asking questions, and supporting the businesses who want more than just our money.

FraLi is the closest thing you will have to actually tasting Italy in Savannah. And living right beyond the horizon of flavor, is the intention of the recipe, and the tradition of which it was born.

We need to start to dig at our roots, to better understand where we came from, and how we got so far from where we need to be. Food is at the epicenter of culture, and if we do not support it, we lose the value of diversity and understanding.

Support local, ask questions, and know where your food is coming from. Let’s keep stirring that pot, people.