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Greek Recipe Book Sparks a Global Food Movement

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November 30, 2015 / Greek / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Eat the Globe sat down to have a chat with Nasia Christie, a Sydney based food lover & artist, and a woman on a mission to preserve her family's recipes.


What inspired you to start recording your family's traditional recipes?
 

Recently, my grandma had to go to hospital and undergo surgery. Then it dawned on me, what happens tomorrow if my grandma is gone? Then, I started thinking of all the special moments in my life that I have spent with her. She’s like my second mum, because I spent a lot of time with her as I was growing up.

As I looked over old photos, I came to realise that we've done so many things together...but some of the most memorable moments were in the kitchen with my grandma, and the amazing smells as she cooked, and all her special recipes. In my family, cooking was accompanied with reciting poems, singing together, and having a laugh no matter how bad our day was. Cooking was a form of therapy and it was good for the mind, the heart, and the soul.

Harkening back to those times, I realized I needed to do something to pro-actively start preserving these recipes. My grandma's cooking and food is such an important part of who I am, and food is a really big part of the Greek culture. Apart from the recipes themselves, I also really want to preserve the stories and wisdom behind each recipe too.


Why is it important for you to preserve your family's recipes?


My grandma is the main reason, as she is so dear to my heart. But as I started thinking about it more, a lot of my extended family like my aunties in Cyprus also have delicious recipes too, so I realised it was important for me to try and preserve all the great recipes that flow within our big family. I believe preserving recipes are an important way to ensure that food knowledge is passed down from one generation to the next. I see these recipes as family heirlooms, and aspects of personality and individuality in each member of the family, and by passing them down to the future generations, the young ones have an opportunity to get to know the past members of the family.

So, I bought a big booklet, and sent it off to Cyprus, where my grandma and extended family live, to begin the process of collating our family recipes.


What has been the response so far from family members? Has it been a challenge to co-ordinate the logistics of sending a physical book around the world?


It has been ok so far, as the first trip for the recipe book was when my mum went on a holiday to Cyprus, so she kindly took the blank book over.

So far, I am thrilled to say we have had contributions from over 4 generations of women in my extended family, from my grandma, aunts, and also my younger cousins.

Apart from recording down recipes, I have had a few lovely surprises, as some of my family have also added in a few original poems. We are also sharing ancient Greek food quotes and wisdom in the book like the Greek phrase, which translates to mean "fish cooked, meat raw", which was an ancient saying that was taught from generation to generation to stop food poisoning, back when there was no refrigeration.

Greek food culture also involves natural remedies and healing recipes. It also includes lesser known health practices, like using colour for therapy.


Do you think Eat the Globe could be another way for you to preserve and share your family recipes?


Yes, definitely, especially with the younger generation, they would enjoy using an online food sharing platform like Eat the Globe. My grandma still prefers pen and paper, but I'd love to start adding some of my grandma’s written recipes onto Eat the Globe, as it will be much easier to share it with the wider family that way. Also, being on Eat the Globe will allow me to share recipes with the global food community too, which makes things even more interesting!


What do you consider to be 'authentic' Greek cuisine? What's your favourite dish?

I find dishes that take a lot of time and love to prepare is what I consider to be authentic, none of this fast food phenomenon stuff.

My favourite family recipe would be my Grandma's snail risotto, I have fun memories of it, like having to use special "little forks" to pluck the snails out....it would often take a long time to eat, but that was half the fun...

Another reason why I love the snail dish was because there was such a high level of involvement from all members of the family...I remember once a year I would go off to the fields in Cyprus with my grandma to collect the snails straight from the fields, so they were certainly fresh! We then had to fast the snails with flour for 2 weeks, before they were finally ready for us to cook them...it was not just a snail dish, but rather a fun food adventure with grandma.


What do you enjoy the most about Greek cuisine? What is unique about Greek food?


Everything comes with salad and olive oil and lemon. When I think of Greek food, I think of salads! There's always lots of salads to choose from.


It's coming up to Christmas, are there any particular dishes that your family usually cooks to celebrate Christmas?


My mum cooks a Turkey with a delicious filling - sultanas, pine nuts, chicken liver and rice. It's a Cyprus recipe with my mum's special spin on it.



At Eat the Globe, we love to inspire people to try new cuisines and learn about new cultures, what's the top 3 places you would like to visit (whether locally or abroad)? and why?


1) Majorca
 - an island in Spain - I want to go there to try their Spanish food and I've been told it's a very picturesque place.

2) Britain - I want to visit all the country towns within Britain - as I love staying in places that have a lot of organic local produce, and they make their own jams, beers....I also want to try the mutton!

3) Ireland - I love the greenery there, and it's also a spiritual place. I want to taste the classic Irish pie and experience traditional Irish music! I guess I have a soft spot for Irish ballads. 


I hear you are a woman of many talents, tell us more about your ventures, what have you been up to lately?

I am a singer/songwriter, and I have my debut album coming out next year (2016) - I have 7 songs completed so far. It's mainly folk rock, inspired by the 60's and 70's era. I love this era, as the 60's was all about storytelling. The lyrics are foregrounded, and it's exciting that I have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best musicians in the country. My music ultimately reflects my love of storytelling.

To find out more about Nasia's music, visit:
https://www.facebook.com/nasiachristiemusicfiction  
https://twitter.com/nasiachristie 

 

Since Nasia shared her story with Eat the Globe, it has sparked a global food movement to be born.

Eat the Globe has launched the "Family Recipes Movement" to inspire people from around the world to start pro-actively preserving their family recipes, as we believe traditional recipes are key to a family's culture and way of life - to find out more, visit: http://eattheglobe.com/frm.


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Country: Cyprus

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Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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