Food, Memory & Identity
in Greece and the Greek Diaspora
Photo: Harry Haralambidis
Dietary habits of Minoan Eastern Crete . Chrysa Sofianou, Archaeologist, KD EPCA
The excavations in Papadiokampos Siteias, that were preformed from the KD Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, brought into the light three housing facilities with many rooms ,that appear to have been built in the Mid- Minoan IIB period (around 1600bc), and were destroyed during the eruption of Thira Volcano in After Minoan IA period .Great impression was caused from the finding of an open vessel full of limpets, and a three-feet kettle(pot) full of smashed snails and crabs on top of one of the house’s vesta. Also many shells, tritons and lavers were gathered from the same place. These findings were one of the reasons that the main cause for the continuance of the excavation, turned to be the gathering and analysis of organic residue, which will help us to understand the way that these people spend their everyday life, the way they cooked αnd their eating habits. Many samples were collected from the soil and the internals of the vessels and were send for analysis. The results saw that the residues were kernels of olives and seeds of grapes, figs, almonds, peas, barley, flax and lentils. The study and analysis of animal bones , saw that the residents of this particular area, ate meat that came from goat. The comparison with other analysis of excavation findings, performed in other places of East Crete , are implying similar eating habits during the Minoan Time. The results of the above mentioned analysis and the eating habits that come out of them as a result, will be presented to you in details.
The exploitation of plants from the Geometric until the Hellenistic period at Dreros, Lasithi. Κaterina Moniaki, Archaeologist- Archaeobotanist (presenter), V. Zographaki , Archaeologist KD EPCA, A. Farnoux, Professor Paris IV-Sorbonne / Director, French School at Athens.
During the recent Gallo-Hellenic excavations at Dreros, when individual houses were researched, public places and buildings which are dated from the Geometric period until the Hellenistic times, archaeobotanical material was collected. The presence of botanical remains, although poor, still provides evidence of the diachronic use of plants by the inhabitants of the settlement, by enlightening aspects of daily life. As archaeobotanical material from settlements and sacred areas of the historical periods in the general area are rare, the new data from Dreros allow us to research the economy of a major settlement of eastern Crete. Study of the botanical remains from houses of Dreros and their contextual relation with the artefacts related to their processing, storage and food preparation, contributes to enriching our knowledge regarding the food processing activities of the inhabitants of Dreros. Moreover, the botanical finds in areas which are admittedly ritual, reinforces the important role of plants related to cult. Dreros provides an opportunity to follow the use of plants in the same settlement from the 8th until the 2nd century BC, and to compare plant remains from similar time jones. Through the study of the use of plants, we could examine whether ‘tradition’ of the Minoan period dominates diet.
Evidence for diet and subsistence in the Hellenistic and Roman Syvritos: continuation and changes. Nota Karamaliki, Archaeologist, KE EPCA.
Syvritos was one of the large cities of the hinterland of Crete in antiquity, the most important in the area of south-east Rethymno, as it dominated the whole of the Amari basin. Although it flourished in the Hellenistic and Roman times, little do we know of its history and even less do we know about the daily life of its inhabitants, the food and subsistence. Nevertheless, we could try to somewhat reconstruct, based on the data from recent rescue excavations conducted by the archaeological Service at Aghia Foteini. For this paper, we shall present examples of two houses, one from the Hellenistic and another from the Roman period. We shall centre on its storage areas, its cooking and tableware which were found there and we shall ask questions related to the nature and provenance of food, the type of storage, preparation and consumption. Houses, with the find of their everyday pottery wares, reveal the habits of the people which inhabited them, their preferences, as well as changes which were affected by time and historical conditions.
Athleticism and diet in classical Greece. The diet of the Olympians. Cleanthe (Cleo) Pateraki, Dr., Archaeologist.
The aim of this announcement is to demonstrate the relationship of sports, which was deemed most important as the ancient Greek socio-political institution, with diet, ie the result of a natural need for human survival. The focus is on classical times, especially the 5th century BC, a time of great prosperity for the Panhellenic Sports and Music Games (“Olympia” or the Olympic Games, “Pythia” or the Pythian Games, “Isthmia”, “Nemea”) and Greece. The special diet of the athletes of the perios is considered, as evidenced in written sources (of authors) and the iconography (in art) of the time. Particular mention is made to the diet of the top athletes of the largest and biggest Games in the ancient Greek world, the famous classical Olympians.
Greek wines in Roman Italy – aristocratic luxuries or mass beverages? Paulina Komar, PhD student, University of Wrocław, Poland.
There is no doubt that wine was one of the main consumption goods in the Mediterranean in antiquity. Roman Italy imported wines from all over the southern Europe, Near East and Africa, however, these were Greek wines that enjoyed a particular position among the imported beverages. On the one hand, they were praised by poets due to their delightful taste and recommended by physicians because of medical values, on the other, Greek wine transport amphoras are frequently attested in archaeological material on the whole Apennine peninsula. Who drank these wines? Were they among aristocratic luxuries, as the literary evidence suggests? Or rather belonged to the popular beverages, as the massive presence of Greek amphoras in Italy indicates? A detailed analysis of ancient texts as well as archaeological findings from Lazio and Campania suggest that both statements may be true. In the period of the republic, when imported goods were expensive and rare, Greek wines from Chios, Lesbos and Thasos were present only on aristocratic tables. They were symbols of high social status available only for few, therefore, suited perfectly for Roman symposion. However, in the times of the empire, when Mediterranean Sea became mare nostrum for the Romans, the beverages from Crete, Cos, Rhodes and Greek colonies in Asia Minor became more popular. They were tasty but cheap, thus, ideal to be sold in the tabernae, meeting places of the common people. Consequently, the social meaning of Greek wine consumption changed entirely.
Food and identity in Ancient Greece and Byzantium. Ayfer Yavi, Archaeologist- Gastronomy columnist.
There are many archeological sources that could be studied in detail on food and beverages regarding the life of Ancient period. Homer’s epics, the plays of Aristophanes, the comedies enlighten the way. Through Apicius and Cato one can visualise the details. Findings like the the inscriptions, dinnerware, drinking cups and pots, cooking and storage utensils; the sceneries of nature and food on mosaics and frescoes, charred food residues that are found in many ancient cities as well as in Pompei, exhibit and prove the local food and eating habits of the public and the court. The forms of amphoras, barrels, jars and doliums that are found in the shipwrecks, testify wine, olive-oil and grain trade. The variation of food between the working class and the wealthy shows the class diversity. Apart from the rich who was able to have fish and wheat bread, there were also poor who used to have mace, onions and vegetables. Nutrition stayed simple for a long time. At the same time the class distinction gets greater in Rome which lets Greek influence to cover a bigger space. The exxagurated tables of the rich included; poultry, hunted animals, a great variety of vegetables and fruit, wine and spices. The feasts were almost accepted as theatral performances that naturally turned out to be showing off. Slaves were doing the hard work like cultivating the land in landowner Roman citizens farms within the territories of Roman Empire, especially in the Italian peninsula. The greater income source of the Bizantium was the taxes and the loot gained by sacking. Byzantines had established an eating scheme considering the circulation, digestion and excretory systems. They had valued and had given a great importance to destress these systems by their preferences of hot and cold served meals. There used to be eight tastes in Bizantine cuisine. The eating habits of the ordinary subjects and the court were totally diffrent. This diffrence was based on the ingredients as well as the way it was cooked. The presentation of the food should also be remembered. The Byzantines used to have two or three meals in a day. In order to dicipline the desires and due to the lack of food eventually the Byzantians tried to limit their meals. Obviously the main food of Byzantine cousine was bread, wine and fish. According to the economical status, the subjects of the Empire used to have lamb or pork, cheese, honey, grains, fruit, greens and sweets. The diversity of food had changed due to the socio-economical situation, wars, migration starting from Ancient Greece reaching to Byzantium. Although it has been accepted as the continuation of one another, there are essential divisions between them.
Κollyva: a sweet food in “memory of all those who throughout the ages have fallen asleep”. Demosthenes Kehayias, Αrchaeologist /MSc in Restoration.
The offering of crops of the earth to the memory of the dead is lost in the depth of a nebulous world of primeval mythology, that is in the dawn of Prehistory, from the offerings over graves up to the end of the Roman period and the transition of the burial rituals to the Palaeo-Christian period and its continuation to our day. Kollyva known to various regions of Greece as ‘sterna’ (belated) or ‘sygxoria’ (forgiveness) and also to the Greeks of the ‘diaspora’ as ‘psychon kokkia’ (particles of soul) at Pontos Area or as ‘tzan asi’ and ‘tazan pilafi’ (rice of the soul) at Kappadocia, they are in essence an ‘idysma’ , a sweet, pleasant to the taste, and preparation of religious nature. The base of the preparation is the boiled wheat (‘efthos sitos’ or ‘epsitos sitos’ according to Souida) and the sugar, whereas also flour is added (generally roasted), dried grapes, sesame, a variety of dried nuts (walnut, roasted almond or raw, pine nuts, hazelnuts), corn, pomegranate and spices (cinnamon and cumin), parsley, mainly in the Peloponnese and last fragmented hardtack. Kollyva are decorated either with the materials themselves of which they are made, or with multi-shaped sugared candies. Kollyva is shared by the nearest relatives of the dead at the third day, the nine days (‘eniamera’), the forty days (‘saranta’), in the three months (‘trimina’), at six months (‘examina’), at nine months (‘eniamina’) and in the first year after the death of the person, as well as during the two soul Saturdays of the year, Soul Saturday (before carnival Sunday) and soul Saturday before Pentecost Sunday, and when we receive the kollyva we wish the forgiveness of the dead using the phrase ‘God, forgive him/her’. The aim of the present paper is focusing on the following: a) the study of symbolism and the variety of the raw material, as well as to the preparation, as was found in our systematic research, b) the correlation of this sweet with memory and the identity of the dead, since Antiquity to our day, in Greece, in its entire geographical unity, as well as in the Hellenism of the ‘diaspora’ and last, c) the hermeneutic approach and interpretation of symbolism.
Cretan edible thorns · Scolymus hispanicus, Onopordum sp., Carthamus dentatus. Antonia Psaroudaki, Agronomist / Technological Institute of Crete, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics.
One of the main features of the Cretan diet is the daily consumption of herbs and vegetables. Many of these greens are wild, collected mainly from autumn to spring. In recent years the city dwellers can also obtain them at the markets as a number of them are now available from greens-collectors for a substantial fees. Some edible wild plants are well known even nowadays and some are less so. Species which are harder to recognize or there are problems in finding and collecting them (discontinuous distribution, poor access to physical locations) are now being collected and consumed rarely. However they are considered by older people in particular as the most tasty types. And their rarity in finding them for consumption increases their value both in the minds of foodies everywhere and in their market value. The species in this work have some common characteristics: • Not easily recognized • They do not exist widely • They present particular difficulties in their collection as they bear spiny leaves • The edible part is usually the central nerves of the sizeable spiny leaves after of course they have been cleared of thorns Their taste however is excellent and the well initiated (mainly older people) try to find and collect them. In this paper, the botanical descriptions are given and they are identified, they are tested for nutritional and other substances, which are beneficial to the human body, and the dietary habits that surround them are investigated.
The role of family table in the formaition of identity. Maria Stavroulaki, Psycologist.
Formation of identity is associated with the development of a defined and well-rounded sense of oneself ; also, with defining a person’s place in time και social environment .It is a complex procedure, which requires time, and is related with a person’s continuity through the past, present και future, giving perspective, goal, and meaning in life. Family, through its history, its structure,its traditions, its values και rules, and the quality of parental care, contributes to the formation of identity, while the person gains the sense that he/she is part of a group with common history, where he/she is accepted and loved. Thus, the person gains the sense of ”us”. The family table is the place where family gathers και is defined from the rest world, the ‘others’. The existing nutritional habits και rules on meals are differentiated in every family και they become a part of its identity. The active participation of family’s members in the preparation και consumption of food process ,creates a sense of security και stability to the people. When family table is part of everyday life, children and adolescents acquire better nutritional habits, they develop their lingual abilities, have better performance in school, bigger emotional maturity, and reduced risk of appearing infraction* behaviors and nutritional disturbances. The family table is the place where members can interact, communicate, share their thoughts and feelings,also a place where parents can teach life lessons to their descendants. Nutritional habits incorporated in the identity of a family’s members become a trust fund for next generations.
‘As good as my mother’s food’. Male memory and taste. Aikaterini Polymerou – Kamilaki, Director of the Hellenic Folklore Research Centre of the Academy of Athens.
Memory of taste which is often expressed in the reaction of some men vis a vis their wives, regarding the preparation of some foods, even coffee, and the unequal comparison of those two women, is the focus of this research. The approach is based on the oral sayings (present and diachronic) and the recorded historical experience.
Greekness, identity and New Greek Cuisine. Albert Arouh (Epikouros) Professor emeritus DEREE college / Food critic.
Greekness defines the essence of our national identity and it is usually anchored in certain constants in our history, traditions and language, and especially in Greek nature. Likewise in Greek food, Greekness is defined in the materials we use that derive from the uniqueness of Greek nature, in the regional demotic traditions, and in the continuum of our history. In this presentation, I will try to shy away from such essentialist definitions of identity and approach the subject with a relativist spirit that anchors the Greekness of food in collective fantasies and invented memories that create a dynamic allowing the adoption of foreign influences and changes without loosing the sense of identity. I will also claim that the renewal and revitalization of our gastronomic identity stems from those restaurants in Greece that serve New Greek Cuisine, which is part of an international movement linking creative, modernist cuisine to national and regional traditions.
From Gastrin to Baklavas: Invented traditions and the ideology of continuity. Mariana Kavroulaki, Independent researcher / Founder and Co-organizer of SofGC.
- Α little while ago, a group of students from the 1st EPAL (professional high school) of Heraklion-Crete with the title ‘Kritomirodies SA’ (ie Cretan smells) participated in the ‘Virtual Enterprise’ educational program with the cretan sweet ‘Gastrin’.
- Around 4 years ago, the Folk art museum of Zaros, pursued a position at Guiness awards, after having created the longest ‘baklava’ in the world, with more than 30mrs length. ”We chose baklava because it is a Minoan sweet, so called ‘gastrin”, mayor Zacharioudakis said, adding that ‘the purpose of these events is to highlight the cultural heritage of our land & put our area on the map’.
Its common ground for the Greek book authors too, to present the Greek cuisine as such” that is formed through a 3000 years history”. Maria & Nikos Psilakis, the most famous authors of Cretan cuisine, write: ”We believe that this sweet is a distant ancestor of today’s “badly sounded” baklava, which owes its existence not to the so called Turkish cuisine, but to the ancient Greeks’ cuisine”. And, in order to make the connection of the Roman times’ Cretan sweet with today’s ‘badly sounded baklava’’ more convincing, the cookbook writers as well as the chefs who dealt with its reconstruction, included also the phyllo in the ingredients, which is absent in the ancient recipe. By ignoring Athenaeus’ information that gastrin is a Roman sweet, and indicating it of Minoan origin, the undisturbed continuation of Cretan cuisine is emphasized as one that conquerors (Roman and Ottomans) couldn’t affect. In our case we have to do with the same feature that shaped the character of the Greek state: the one of the constant attempt to demonstrate ‘continuity’ and an ”unseparable and united” race. Baklavas was considered a Turkish sweet until some years ago, or, more correctly, as one of the sweets that the refugees from Minor Asia brought with them. However, even in this case, the sweet was firmly associated with Turkey, because in the immigrants’ reception areas, the cuisine brought by them was identified with the Turkish one, in the same way that they were named ‘Tourkosporoi -Turkish seeds’; this characterization described the fear & cautiousness that the Greek areas ‘ inhabitants felt for these people-the most lively part of Hellenism, many of which didn’t speak Greek. Simultaneously, baklavas became ‘ours’, as it was Greeks who brought it along, even though we considered them “Tourkosporous/Turkish seeds” when they arrived in Greece. Besides, it would be better to be half a Greek than no Greek at all. Gastrin, as the ‘distant ancestor’ of baklava, comes to prove not only a mere cultural continuity and indirectly, a biological one between the ancient and younger Cretans, but it became one more concrete proof of gastronomic nationalism and a part of our sacred heritage.
Invented traditions and national foods of Greece: the role of cookery books. Nafsika Papacharalampous, MPhil/PhD School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK.
This paper, based on research on Greek cookery books of the 20th and 21st century, explores the role of selected cookery books in the construction of food traditions, and the complexities of the association of particular foods with the Greek nation. Building on theories on nationalism, tradition and collective memory, this paper discusses how continuity and change play out in the Greek culinary context and how invented food traditions link to the need for a strong national identity, a problematic concept during the formation of the modern Greek nation-state. The selected cookery books, published on the chronological span of a century, are representative of their respective era and provide a unique lens through which to view the changes and transformations of the foodways of Greece, and the dynamics of the negotiation of food traditions. This paper also explores the realities which arise from constructed food traditions in the interplay between the rural and the urban, the juxtaposition between the local or ethnic diversity and national homogenisation in the Greek culinary discourse. More specifically, this paper looks at the book Odighos Mageirikis (Cooking Manual) by Nicolaos Tselementes, a Greek chef, published in 1920 and its key role in the construction of the contemporary Greek cuisine, linking to the search for a Greek national identity, the invention of traditions, and the erasure of the historical origins of foodstuffs. The second book, written by Themos Potamianos, literary author and fisherman H Mageiriki ton Peristaseon: Mageiriki tis Katohis (colloquially translated as Cooking to Suit the Times), published in 1943 contests the authenticity of national foods by proposing a new, different rhetoric which illuminates rural, local foodways and the diversity of the Greek culinary identity. The third book, Eikonografimeni Mageiriki kai Zaharoplastiki (Illustrated Cooking and Pastry Making) by Chryssa Paradeisi (1959), an established authority and magazine columnist, echoes the social changes of urbanisation but paradoxically contributes to the continuity of old food traditions. Michael Psilakis’ 2009 cookery book How to Roast a Lamb taps into collective memories and proposes a reinvention of tradition, a different image of Greekness which is associated with the nature and rurality, concluding the research on how cookery books negotiate the construction of food traditions and national foods in the 20th and 21st century.
Greek Cuisine, Greek identity and the economic crisis. Maria Verivaki, English teacher at MAICh / food blogger.
Greek cuisine is often associated with concepts such as hospitality, homeliness and tradition, all of which require certain sacrifices, in terms of time and money. It is also seen as an important and defining element of Greek identity. But the economic crisis has affected standard Greek values and the Greek identity is being reshaped as developments change the structure of Greek society. The traditional cuisine associated with Greece cannot remain untouched by this. What changes has Greek cuisine, as related to Greek identity, undergone due to the crisis? This paper does not attempt to answer the question directly. Rather, introspective insights will yield partial answers to this issue, using personal experience and knowledge gleaned from articles and discussions in the Greek national and international press, with particular emphasis on the area of Western Crete, where the author lives and works. The concept of Greek cuisine is related to the urban/rural divide that continues to define Greek cuisine and the Greek lifestyle; time, money and employment factors as the main drivers of the economic crisis; Greek products, Greek food marketing and the ‘Greek food’ fashion outside the country; eating in (home cooking) and dining out (restaurant menus); shopping trends, television cooking shows; urban gardens and soup kitchens. The initial question will remain open, as a recommendation for further research into the topic of Greek identity and how it relates to Greek cuisine.
Gastronomic identity: evidence in the cultural products of the Greek diaspora. Marina Frangou, Human Geographer, Hellenic Open University.
Emigration has been a central pivot of Modern history of Greece, and as a consequence Greek ‘diaspora’ today numbers approximately half of the population of Greece. Characteristics of the Greek’s ‘diaspora’s’ identity were religion, language, and traditions. Could it also be that the Greek cuisine is, furthermore, an identifiable cultural element? Is this particularity of the cultural elements portrayed in the products of the Hellenism of the ‘diaspora’? This paper will try to record Greek cuisine, as it is portrayed and described in the works of the Greeks of the ‘diaspora’, using examples from the literature and film-making of the ‘diaspora’. The validation of the gastronomic cultural identity in the Greek ‘diaspora’ will be researched in the works of forerunners of Greek-American literature such as Harry Mark Petrakis and reaching modern cultural productions with representatives such as Jeffery Eugenides, Christos Tsiolkas and Nia Vardalos. Through these cultural ‘products’ we shall present the model of slow transfer which started with assimilation (where even the cuisine reinforces the acuteness of the bi-polar ‘local-foreign’) until the time of political multi-culturalism (whereby the particular/different is seen as important and acceptable).
A Greek culinary Odyssey to New Zealand, the furthest shore, Gail Pittaway, Principal Academic Staff Member, School of Media Arts,Wintec, NZ.
New Zealand is perhaps the furthest shore that the influence of Greek cuisine has reached. Although visited and settled by Greeks in its earliest period of European settlement, in the Nineteenth Century, New Zealand received Greek immigrants in their largest numbers in the middle of the Twentieth Century in the general diasporas of Greeks before and after war. Chain migration, by which people from the same families or township follow other neighbours and relatives to another destination, has been a significant pattern, and, from early census documents, it is even possible to identify the original sources of the earliest Greek migrants as being the islands of Ithaca, Cephalonia and Lesbos, and the occupations of these people as being sea farers or fishermen (From Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand). The majority of later Greek immigrants settled in Wellington, the capital and then the most cosmopolitan of the small nation’s cities. A major place of employment for those who made it to this shore was in the food and hospitality industry. Again Wellington, with its many rocky headlands, small pebbled beaches and well-established fishing fleets was an appealing location. With the dominant culture and therefore the food culture being British, many adjusted to the simpler culinary demands of the populace by establishing fish and chip shops. Most traditional Greek necessities were unknown, for example, olive oil could only be purchased in pharmacies, as could rose water and orange flower water, but gradually these shops provided a locality for importing traditional Greek delicacies and staples, at first to fellow immigrants, but eventually to an expanding clientele . This paper will discuss how, as Greek families were becoming settled and assimilated into work places, suburbs and civic communities, their culinary influence was creating a distinct contribution to the bland tastes of post-colonial New Zealand kitchens.
Does an olive branch activate ‘Greek’ behavior among Greeks of the diaspora? Katerina Pouliasi, Researcher in Cross-and Cultural Psychology.
In a series of experiments we have used typical Greek cultural icons to activate ‘Greek’ responses among Greek immigrants who live in the Netherlands. All the participants have been active in Dutch society for at least 5 years but, as they reported themselves they also strongly maintain their Greek identity, and they can therefore be properly classified as ‘biculturals’. In addition bicultural children of Greek descent, fluent in the Greek language, were also employed. All participants had to complete a questionnaire. Each page of the questionnaire was discretely illustrated by typical Greek icons, like the icons shown below. They were asked about how important certain values were for them (e. g. relationships in the family, friendship), to give an explanation of a concrete example of social behavior described shortly in a story, or to assess their ‘self’ at the hand of given adjective-traits, for example to what degree they consider themselves as individualist, ambitious or modest. We explicitly avoided any mention of the illustrations. According to the constructivist theory of culture and cognition, these icons would unconsciously, activate Greek culture-bound patterns of responses. Hence, the answers of the Greek immigrants should be similar to answers given by Greeks –adults and children– who live in Greece. To what extent was this hypothesis confirmed? Is it true for both samples, the children of Greek descent and the adult Greek immigrants? Does this theory apply equally, for example, to values and self-knowledge? Are there any individual characteristics that influence the response patterns? The results of these studies will be presented and discussed.
Analysis of the questionnaire on self-perception and social behavior, by Katerina Pouliasi: Research Amari
Gastronomy in the Greek restaurants of Germany: cuisine and marketing of Greek traditional foods at the Greek restaurants of Hamburg. Charidemos Spinthakis, Human ecologist / Trophologist.
The German markets are one of the most important receiving countries for Greek products, and during the previous decades it was the most important country receiving hundreds of thousands of Greek immigrants. Today, a large number of restaurants are run by the Greek ‘diaspora’ which predisposes us for the presence of traditional products and recipes in the cuisine which is offered. In parallel ways, quality Greek cuisine and typical foods could play an important role in promoting an outward looking vue and the increase of import of agricultural products. The large spectrum of Greek restaurants in Germany could, theoretically, become an entry point to the market, for Greek quality foods and the promotion of Greek gastronomy. Taking on these points, the present paper analyses our results from our research which was conducted in the area of Hamburg, Germany. The study focuses on typically Greek products (PDO and PGI in European Union) and in particular cheese products, olive oil and Greek wines, as well as a range of products which are unique also for their gastronomic value. For the research, a wide range of personal interviews were held in a sample of 20 Greek restaurants. The aim of research was to investigate the identity of the Greek restaurant and Greek cuisine in Germany, a study of which traditional foods are used, what hors oeuvres, and also to record the ideas and prejudice that Greek restaurant owners have for those as well as Greek gastronomy.
The role of food, cooking and eating in Greek diasporic cultures and how it is used in the process of identity . Ozlem Yaşayanlar, Philologist / Translator
Being a Cretan in Izmir means that you are identified as “infidel” and/or “Roum seed” which is not incorrect actually; considering the cemetary and wedding records during Ottoman period . Based on the Empire’s approach of spreading Islam, a muslim man was able to get married with a Christian Orthodox by the approval of the muslim judge (qadi). Hence many inhabitants were converted into Islam in order to raise the muslim population of the island. The “Population Exchange” due to the Lousanne Agreement had brought many exchangees to Asia Minor who embraced and comemorated their culture by keeping the Cretan way of life alive in every possible way like the language and eating habits. Οn the other hand, although one is excluded from the society due to his/her roots, s/he is always proud to emphasize the indispensible pride of being from “the island” and values the importance of Cretan cuisine that is accepted as one of the healthiest throughout the world and moreover overlooks to the “others” who would not prefer to have some wild greens as a meal. “Selling snails in the muslim neighborhood” is a Turkish saying that refers the seller will not find any customers: which again excludes Cretans from the rest of the Turkish society for a Cretan would either collect the snails by him/herself or buys the whole sack from the seller. An exchangee lives with melancholy for s/he feels in exile and longs for the homeland. However, when s/he travels to the homeland s/he always misses the “other half” of the spirit. The “pain” might sometimes reach to extremes. Somehow, with each journey enriches and the person becomes even more familiar with the socalled “pain” that so strangely adds diverse colors to one’s life. This is the need to belong somewhere, where is better than anywhere. Hence, I personally have admitted many times that if this is an “illness” I want to get more ill. Surely the exchangees only brought their memories with the diaspora to their new, host land and eventually they’ve become multicultural, more cultivated by digesting it as a source of richness fort he third generation Cretans. Feeding everyone, fixing huge tables like feast for each and every meal, underestimating non-Cretans and their values; looking down upon non-Cretans, to the “others” of not recognizing hundreds of wild greens. Sometimes the criticism could be simply based on not acquiring the knowledge of fixing a basil syrub or perhaps not being able to make or select the very best extra virgin olive oil. No doubt marrying a Cretan would be the best and the only choice to eliminate the risk factors due to eating habits. As cooking Cretan food for a Cretan exchangee is mandatory without debate. A bride pridely performs her skills in the kitchen and a Cretan groom never has food unless it is a Cretan table. It is so “strict” that the Smyrnian Cretans always find excuses to avoid non-Cretan food. The men are proud to bring the gifts of the sea, the land and the sky on the way back from hunting. And also a Smyrnian Cretan man never brings food to his house as kilos but with sacks. So Cretan exchangees actually discriminate the locals as well as the locals doing the same. A non-Cretan groom will never equal to a Cretan one no matter he tries his best. The locals on the other hand say that, “get a Cretan groom but don’t get a Cretan bride for they talk a lot and take the control of the house.” Surely regardless of sex, Cretans are built up as strong people both characteristically and physically. The importance of Cretan genes cannot be ignored which bestows the stubbornness to attach in every possible way to life as well as behaviors. Furthermore, an exchangee would also enjoy competing within the circles to perform more patriotic values than the other exchangees. In order to understand one’s own self, this life long journey adds both joy and sadness. Food is one of the accesories that defines the “otherness”. A day of Cretan exchangee starts with some delicious staka which is a breakfast classic along with fruit and vegetable preserves, olives, various types of cheese. If there is nothing else, you can simply dip your fresh baked bread into some virgin olive oil. The lunch is always fixed early in the morning for the man of the house which might include wild greens cooked with either fish or seafood, or with baby goat or lamb; some meat pie; rarely legumes –preferably cooked with wild greens. The exchangees arent really fond of sweets but noone would refuse a bite of sweet kalitsounia or spoon sweets –especially if it is an eggplant or water melon preserve or some tomatoe preserve filled with almonds. During dinner all the family members are expected to be by the table otherwise it is considered disrespectful. Although it is forbidden religiously to have alcohol, Cretan family members always have some on the table as they do not measure or interpret “goodness” or conscience with a couple of drinks along with the simplest and the most delicious dishes on earth, but with their respect to the nature and its gifts, helping to the people in need, simply trying to be “human”. Additionally, a high number of Cretan exchangees oppose and criticize the radical Islamists. Instead of becoming a pilgrim, many Cretans prefer to donate schools to the government. Likewise, a Cretan’s daily language is generally based on food itself or its terminology whereas the locals’ speech stands dull comparing to the richness of an exchangee. Moreover, the locals would discriminate their own child due to gender, but a Cretan father’s approach is always based on equality. A Cretan mother also acquires the knowledge of using pistols and shotguns like a man either to defend herself or just for fun. Many Cretans living in Izmir does not need to explain neccessarily why it is important to be a Cretan though they are always proud having their roots from “the island”. It is something like having “royal blood”. But also, in between “Not being from here” and “not being from there” an Exchange becomes a mixture of both and owns both lands and at the same time s/he knows that s/he does not actually “belong” anywhere. Thus each year at various regions of Turkey many Cretans get together by the organization of Cretan Associations at “Cretan Festivals”. The new generation exchangees bring food cooked in the Cretan style and share so the food culture is kept alive. Namely, I am a third generation exchangee. My curly hair is from Africa. My father, Crete bestowed me my eyes and breathed my spirit. My mother, Anatolia has fed me as the way my father wished it to be by its fertile seas and earth. I have eye tension and tyroid troubles that are accepted as common exchangee illnesses. Finally, I am proud to have Crete and Anatolia as my parents though I cannot and do not want to choose which of my parents I love more.
Crete, homeland, nostalgia on Cretan cuisine. Reconstruction of memory in Cretan immigrants in Turkey. Hatice Aladag, Teaching Assistant, Cultural Studies Department, Sehir University, Istanbul.
Cretan immigrants had begun to come to Turkey from Crete in the end of 1800 to 1923 because of the ethnic conflicts that appeared between Cretan Turks and Cretan Greeks living in the Crete Island. That Ottoman Empire disintegrated in the beginning of twentieth century because of nationalist floats and rebellions in its borders had initiated a dense immigration of Muslim populations from its western zones to Anatolian region. Cretan immigrants were one of these groups that belonged to these immigrated communities as forced to live in Anatolia under the sovereignty of Turkish National Republican State. All of the Cretans were located by the State in different regions in Anatolia and begun to live with other immigrated groups in the same areas. After a long and tough adaptation process, like other immigrations experienced in different regions of the world, they forgot some of their culinary customs and most of the Cretan identity. Nevertheless, most of them, unlike other immigrants living in Turkey, still see Crete island as their homeland and reconstruct their identity through this homeland idea in their minds. And this homeland nostalgia is reconstructed through culinary nostalgia and reinvention of new Cretan foods in their contemporary culinary experiences. In this paper, I will discuss how an imagined homeland is possible through remembering past and reinventing present , through examination of the change in their cuisine. I used anthropological datas from the my ethnographic research about Cretan immigrants and cuisine in Izmir, Aydin, and Kusadasi. Memory studies theory and anthropology are main approaches here.
Dietary culture and practices of the “Greek Rainbow Family ” : when the Local meets the Ηyperlocal in the Vision of Global Peace. Mary Margaroni, Philologist / Social Anthropologist M.A.
This proposed recommendation aim, is to study the dietary culture and practices of the “Greek Rainbow Family” as a part of the “Global Rainbow Family or Rainbow Family of the (living) Light”. This is a global movement which started its action in North America in the 70’s , as a “sequel” to the Hippies Movement for Peace. ”The Rainbow Family of the (living) light “ has a pacifist ecumenical and global perspective of the world. They usually program monthly gatherings, known as Rainbow Gatherings, on Global, European and National level and always in specially selected places of natural beauty, and in every case far from Civilization. In those gatherings, the members of the Movement are leaving under the principles of their theory not only as a team but as individuals too. This particular case study focuses on the study of: – The group’s eating habits and practices, on the point that they become a foundational element for the creation of the identity of this certain group and the “trademark” of it in comparison to other similar groups.( the intaking of “self” and “the other”) The most indicative habit, though not the only, is “vegetarianism”. – The matter of the connection of their eating culture with ethical and spiritual dimension, social-political ideology, health and the development of various rhetorical questions upon them – The development of inner-group differential dietary culture and especially food practices – The various meanings that those Rainbow food practices have in their Gatherings (focusing on what, how, where and when the members eat and drink and why. Also why, who and how they cook, prepare and how they behave before ,during and after their meals) – The eating practices or the Rainbows as a meaningful code that combines with other codes of other practices they have such as dressing, musical and also the confabulation (convergence-declination) of these codes. – The way these habits are presumed by their social environment (especially in cases such as Greece where the familiarization with such practices is not a given situation. – The combining of Local (National) with Hyper local (Global) and the forming of new groups with the main to be the Global Family ( on a symbolic and imaginary level). The character of the above mainly to be intercultural, interreligional, intersexual and intergradal. The above is a case study which uses the main methodology of Human Studies and to be exact the In Place study with participatory research (in the pan European Rainbow Gathering 2013 in Greece), keeping a diary, analytical non planned interviews and free discussions with members of the group. Also press, photos and movies analysis, material which came from different national families Greek also.
Late Minoan Cook-pot Production and Use: An Experimental Approach. Jerolyn E. Morrison, Anthropologist/ Potter, University of Leicester, England.
Experiments that replicate and use ancient ceramic vessels found in what are believed to have been domestic dwelling are a valuable tool for the archaeologist seeking to gain information about ancient daily life. This poster presents the results of a two-phased experiment that is designed to investigate ancient cook-pot production and use. The first stage replicates tripod cooking pots and cooking jars from the Late Bronze I (LB I, c.1600-1400 BC) period using similar ceramic fabrics and pottery production techniques as the ancient potters working at Mochlos, Crete. The second stage investigates what sorts of actions the ancient people would have made when cooking food in these pots. Working with scientists and a culinary artist the Minoan kitchen is replicated and recipes are developed that explore how ancient people might have cooked food in these vessels. The recipes are an interpretation of ancient tastes based on foods lists gathered from archaeobotanical research from various Cretan sites over the last decades. This replication experiment focusing on the Minoan kitchen is intended to explore how ancient people could have engaged with the Cretan landscape to find clays to make cook-pots and collect foods to cook that nourished their bodies. By no means is this project claiming that how the vessels are produced and how they are cooked in is 100% Minoan, but the spirit of the study is important since it explores the sorts of cross cultural study needed to test archaeological assumptions about how the Minoans lived.
Αrchaeological context of wine and oil production in Naxos in Late Antiquite. Irene Legaki, Archaeologist, ΚΑ EPCA/ Curator of Antiquities of Naxos and Small Cyclades – Mavroidis Mavroidopoulos, Archaeologist, ΚΑ EPCA.
Wine and oil form part of the Mediterranean diet during Prehistoric times, and are the products of technological know-how which presupposed settled installations and the participation of human power. Nevertheless, at Naxos, the largest island of the Cyclades, with a long tradition of agriculture and husbandry, the archaeological finds with a secure context are only two and are dated to the Late-Roman and Early Christian centuries. Through their presentation, it will be shown that there is a difficulty in differentiating wine from oil preparation, as either archaeobotanical material is absent or archaeometric analyses are not enough to provide a clear-cut answer. Questions regarding hospitality of material-cum-technical provision in the shells of older structures and those occupied in it will be addressed.
Dietary choices in Βyzantine Cyprus. Maria Papagiannaki, BSc-MSc, Dietitian / Public Health Nutritionist.
The diet of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean has held a special position in the scientific world. The study of the diet habits that were taking place in previous centuries in the Mediterranean could lead towards a better understanding of the Mediterranean diet. The geographical position of Cyprus, which is located in the eastern Mediterranean, the climate and the fact that many civilizations have left their mark on the island, all have influenced the diet choices of the inhabitants.
‘From tzatziki to mayirefta’ – Greek cuisine as a part of cosmopolitan cuisine in food compaign of Lidl supermarkets in Poland. Magdalena Serafin, sociologist / PhD in Culturology, Akademia Ignatianum, Poland.
Certain foods, especially traditional ones, are emblematic of the national identity. You identify yourself with others by consuming the same food, prepared and served in the same way. Different kinds of food identification associated with religion, class or ethnic food preferences are identity markers especially when abroad so it is belived that culinary culture is also crucial to diasporic identifications. Food preparation, cooking and eating in diaspora plays important role not only connecting people of the same roots, but also in creating new cultural formations in a transnational world. Owing to immigrants national cuisine becomes available to global customers and dictates tastes to a new generation. Greek cuisine popular with Europeans, famous for its emphasis on the freshness of fruit and vegetables, and the simplicity of their presentation also take important role in that global food melting pot. But Greek cuisine recognition in Europe is not only due to diasporic effort put into promoting national food abroad but also owing to food tourism compaignes, Greek restaurants mushrooming in developing countries, and also new kind of policy incorporated in chain supermarkets. ‘Supermarket revolution’ has occurred in ‘new’ developing European countries since the early-to-mid-1990s. At first it penetrated local food market but it was not enough so day after day globalized food tradition was emerging.
The focus of this paper is the analysis of Greek food’s presentation in Lidl supermarkets in Poland during ‘international cuisine weeks’, its influence on building stereotypes and attracting Polish potential tourist to visit homeland of moussaka, baklava and retsina.
Project: bread. Poverty, hunger and malnutrition on the world map of 21st century. Maria Lianou, Phd student, Department of Social Policy, Panteion University/ Administrator, ASEP· Kyriaki Lianou, Teacher /Μsc Maritime Studies, University of Piraeus.
There is enough food for the whole world. But not everyone has enough food. Despite the encouraging results of the United Nations to meet the millennium goals by 2015, millions of people on earth are still experiencing poverty, hunger and malnutrition. The percentage of those living on less than one euro a day in sub-Saharan Africa fell from 56% in 1990 to 47% in 2008. Similarly, the rates in Latin America and the Caribbean show that the percentage of people living in extreme poverty from 12% in 1990 fell to 6% in 2008. Many of them are workers. According to the World Labor Organization in 2011 there were 456 million workers in the world living on less than one euro a day, reduced by 233 million by 2000 and 38 million by 2007. Millions of people are still malnourished due to poverty. Rates, although declining, are indicative: in 1990 the proportion of undernourished people worldwide reached 19.8% while in 2008 it was as high as 15.5%. The highest rates occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa (29% in 2008) and South Asia (excluding India) (22%). In Sub-Saharan Africa, which was hit hard by the global food and financial crisis, it is estimated that in 2008 the number of undernourished reached 231,000,000. The data on underweight children under 5 years is even more shocking. Although rates fell from 29% in 1990 to 22% in 2010 in sub-Saharan Africa, in developing countries the situation is tragic, and in 2010 one in five children were underweight. In parallel, armed conflicts and violence uprooted more than 4,000,000 people in 2011, who were forced to move either within or outside the borders of their countries. This is the largest number of movements in recent years. According to UN figures, at the end of 2011, 42.5 million people worldwide were living in an area where they were forcibly displaced due to conflict or persecution. Of these, 15.2 million are refugees, 26.4 million were uprooted due to violence and persecution but remain within the borders of their countries, while 900,000 people are asylum seekers. On average, four out of five refugees are from developing countries. Child mortality worldwide dropped from 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. However, in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which accounted for 82% of child deaths worldwide in 2010, 6.2 million child deaths were recorded. But poverty and food shortages are compounded by the lack of drinking water. In Sub-Saharan Africa 40% of the population that live in rural areas have no access to drinking water. The task of collecting water is mostly entrusted to women. Goods such as bread and water, which are essential and indispensable in our daily diet and taken for granted by European standards, are like luxury in the eyes of millions of people around us. Their daily lives are unlivable, their own painful memories, their own identity does not dare to take concrete form. It is time to stop turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the human drama. We all need to. If indeed we as Greeks are proud of our own memories and identities, if we want to continue to proclaim to the world that civilization was born in Greece; even if temporarily facing difficult economic and political times, we have a duty to look beyond ourselves. We have a duty to continue to show the entire world what the words ‘culture’ and ‘humanity’ really mean.
Bread in folk tales. “Semolina” and “The sweetest bread in the world.” Maria Tsouknaki, Artist – Storyteller.
We often find bread in folk tales, culminating in the story of Semolina or The Sugarkneaded. We will listen to one of the many variants of Semolina to discover the hidden paths of the legend. We will taste the sweetest bread in the world, soaked with sweat and effort that turns endlessly in its cycle and nourishes generations, a sterile warp to weft the belly. Symbolic plumes, the snake, the worry beads, flowers, doves, like the words that come from the soul, they weave the bread, we bless it, it is made into a fairy tale, giving it a tasty memory. Herbs, spices, milk, sugar and oil give it flesh and bones, they transform it to the beloved who aspires a daughter, they give it breath and make a hero of the tale, an incarnation of the dream and lust. Bread is synonymous with life and love. It becomes an intangible work in the hands of the man who strives to earn his daily bread. It is the beginning of the story. And … a thousand welcomes, both small and old, as you hear about bread and semolina!
“Medea Sarcophagida” οr “Τhe feast of life”. Katerina Fanouraki, Visual artist/ Performer.
When forensic entomology meets Medea of Greek Mythology. A cloak full of larvae, inspired by Medea’s crime out of wrath. The mantle prima facie looks beautiful, like an eccentric high fashion outfit. But it is actually not.It is the black veil of death that covers him the time he commits suicide. The title of the project comes from the matching of the word “Medea” and the Latin definition of flesh fly “DIPTERA SARCOPHAGIDAE”, (carnival diptera).Surprisingly, this installation could be a hymn to life by reductio ad absurdum. It achieves the tingle of the audience while they ponder over what awaits them, if they dear to wear the stylish and dark “Medea sarcophagida” before the time has come …
Mapping Greek Gastronomy. Eugenia Demeglio, Maker/ Associate Lecturer.
Mapping Greek Gastronomy is a relational process devised to take part to the 2nd Symposium: Food, Memory & Identity in Greece & in Diaspora. The project consists of two elements: a multi-sensorial interactive world map and the artist/ facilitator who will elaborate the map together with the participants to the symposium. Through its participatory nature, Mapping Greek Gastronomy wants to address the thematic of the 2nd Symposium: Food, Memory & Identity in Greece & in Diaspora in a fluid and multi-sensorial way, involving the presenting participants in an informal yet informed and communal way of exchange.
Bitter Orange Sweet. Ino Varvariti, Persefoni Myrtsou, visual artists.
For the art project “Bitter Orange Sweet”, we harvested bitter oranges from different areas in the city centres of Athens and Thessaloniki. In these areas the effects of the economic crisis are visible. From these fruits we made bitter orange spoon sweet. The work was exhibited in Berlin, where we offered the spoon sweet to the exhibition visitors. Having the gesture of offering this “urban” bitter orange spoon sweet as our point of departure, we sought to create a symbolic dialogue that related to the crisis in Greece.
ARToς. Giota Kotika, artist.
In the history of humanity, the thread of life has been connected to bread. The history of human action has been around wheat, flour, bread, daily routine, traditions and values, and lastly the food habits. Bread turns into offering to God, and offering in return to humans, whereas plain bread nourishes each of us. Bread as symbolic archetype and as symbol of life I chose to address by mingling unequal elements, such as cement and chiselled, by human hands, religious designs in such a way as to discover the ‘seal’ which emphasises the continuation of being and creation. The hardness of the building material which reflects the present of our society today is united with traditional technique of a past which remains visible in values which slowly disappear. It disappears in values and meanings such as offering, solidarity, belief, sacrifice, death, renaissance, meanings which comprise the totality of the work ARTos.