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Cooking in a Greek Nana’s kitchen.

It has taken me a long time to realise something about myself. I’ve been asking myself, in the last few weeks, why it took so long…..but sometimes it just does……sometimes we see things separately and they have little significance but then something happens to make us see the whole picture and realise it was there all along.

I have always said I’m not a foodie; I’m not the kind of person to rave about a weird, scarce ingredient or to eat at expensive, fine restaurants. No. I’m not a fine diner, nor am I a fine cook. I have always seen cooking as something of a chore, a means-to-an-end. I cook in order to eat. Until now.

I don’t need my food to be fancy-pants. I like it hearty, healthy and tasty….I have always made simple, quick food for myself and never felt I deserved a space in my kitchen. I don’t use or read recipe books…..these are only for artists surely….

But something clicked recently. Bear with me while I digress a little. I love to travel, not far, but I like to go someplace else from time-to-time. I love to travel by train…..I should say I really love to travel by train….and, occasionally, boat. I like to journey, I like to take my time getting there. I like to see the landscape change, the architecture change, the light change. I like to converse with my fellow passengers and form fleeting friendships. I like to snooze on a train and dream romantic endings to my encounters. I like to lean into the wind from the top deck of a boat and be the first to spot land…

I don’t travel far….only as far as the train will take me. I usually end up in the Mediterranean…which is probably why I travel in the first place…the chance to bathe in that sea without freezing…..bathing free of a wet-suit. West or East Mediterranean I don’t mind.

…and here we come back to food. I think I don’t like cooking but I do like eating and in the Med. I can eat like a princess. It is all my favourites: tomatoes, onions, beans, aubergines, chickpeas (think hummus and falafel), pasta, simple bread….my mouth is watering just at the thought of eating these things. And when I reminisce about my various jaunts to the Med. I invariably remember times spent in other people’s kitchens, other people’s kitchen gardens…..those strangers met on a train or a boat who became friends and invited me to their homes to eat, to break bread and drink wine with their family.

I always thought it was about the eating (so many delicious meals) but I’m starting to realise it was so much about the cooking, the time shared in the kitchen, the time fumbling for language, the time laughing, the time being hugged by someone else’s Grandma and having my, then skinny, cheeks pinched by her and being told I need to be fed. It was hardly about the food at all… was about the act of coming together and laughing together and working together…..

…and working with the most simple of ingredients; ingredients gathered just moments before from the garden…..or the evening before from the woods behind the house….or haggled for in the market that morning. I am beginning to recognise myself in this. I don’t need fancy food…my ‘peasant’ food will do me just fine…..but it should be cooked without haste, it should be cooked with joy and love, each moment should be savoured, each colour and texture and smell observed……it should be messy and as chaotic as life…….the cooking should be just as important as the eating.

I’ll never be a fancy cook but I think I am becoming an appreciative cook, a haste free cook, a cook who is in love with the meal before it reaches the table…and I am starting to read some cookery writers. The few cookbooks that I have I realise are like my beloved travel and exploration books…the lists of ingredients are like maps….I follow them and I am transported to another place. I am beginning to enjoy reading cookery books and am beginning to see my kitchen as a railway station……it’s just the starting point for a glorious journey…..and some trips down memory lane as I think about all the different kitchens I have cooked in alongside someone else’s mamma. I think I am going to enjoy this trip.

May all our train journeys take us, unhurriedly, towards beautiful adventures and may all our kitchen time evoke the most wonderful memories…..even on the greyest of grey days in an attic flat in London. Slightly west of the Mediterranean.



12 thoughts on “Cooking in a Greek Nana’s kitchen.

  1. I enjoy seeing your enthusiasm in the kitchen. We can all learn from each other. My cooking style is more like “if it keeps you alive for another day, good enough.” We have non-fussy chickens and a compost pile, it is never wasted anyway.

    1. Hahaha – that’s sort of my style too. 😉

  2. I have tears… and smiles. Thank you for sharing. ❤️

    1. Awww, thank you so much Paul.

      1. I love reading of you adventures! Hugs Love

      2. Thank you Rene. 🙂

  3. What an enjoyable post. Made me stop and think of some of the kitchens and meals I’ve journeyed to and the friendships built around them. Thanks.
    And btw, I think you’re a marvelous cook!

    1. Thank you so much Georgia……happy memories eh? 🙂

  4. Lovely post vivi, I think if most people just stop for a moment and reminisce about their lives before it got so busy, they would bring it back to the dining room, and or kitchen, where mum, dad, grandma, or whoever were preparing a meal of some sort, chatting or discussing about their day or whatever… usually warm memories are stirred from those long ago days, especially if those loved ones are no longer here. I have definitely brought that style of cooking into my family, extremely love the interaction between us. I know my son will continue to socialize in the kitchen, and around the table, because it goes far beyond just the act of cooking, I believe the love of cooking starts because of the feelings it conjures, nurturing, or being nurtured. Family!
    I believe we all need to return to the kitchen, and write our own cookbook, (meaning family and life stories, not actual recipes) if this world is to see a true peace ❤
    Thanks for sharing your cookbook with us 🌸
    Love from Canada xx

    1. Absolutely! Beautifully put. <3

  5. Pure poetry Vivi! I agree with you whoe heartedly.

    1. Yay! Thank you Shirley.

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