Friday, 1 July 2011

My food, my identity (Το φαγητό μου, η ταυτότητά μου)

My food is closely tied to my identity. This is something I have known all my life. I had a very conscious idea about it since I was old enough to realise that I was not just a member of my family, but the society I lived in, and most of the time during my formative years, these did not often coincide. My family's food and the society's food were quite different, distinguishable according to the senses of sight, smell, touch and taste; if food could speak, then my family's food would probably have differed markedly from my society's food in that aspect, too.

By writing this blog, without actually realising it at the time, I was basically trying to put together the pieces of my own identity. So I view it as a privilege to have been asked to speak about the relationship of food and identity at the First Symposium of Greek Gastronomy on Cretan Cuisine, which will be taking place in mid-July, in the village of Akaranou, Hania, Crete.

How is food related to identity? I would like to talk about the relationship I have found in food and identity, using thoughts and discussions from writing this food blog and interacting with readers (yes, that's you), using the following ideas as my guide:
  • our mothers' food
  • the food of the society we live in
  • migration patterns
  • the food we associate with festivals
  • the role of education in our perception of food
  • the memories we associate with food
  • commerce and trade
I've set myself a huge task, one that needs the skills of a historian, anthropologist, sociologist, political scientist, psychologist and educator (among others), most of whose specialities I have only a rudimentary knowledge of. So I will not attempt to give a definitive answer to this question: my views on food are too limited. Instead, I will summarise what I have learnt about my food identity over the last four years that I have been blogging about it - and that's all thanks to you.

staycation balcony lunch vamvakopoulo hania chania

See you in a couple or so weeks!

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