Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sweet preserves (Γλυκά του κουταλιού)

My collection of home-made sweet preserves makes me feel like a farmer's wife. It is one of the more creative and ornamental aspects of cooking in a Cretan kitchen. Spoon sweets (γλυκά του κουταλιού as they are know in Greek) are made not just to cater for the family's sweet tooth, but also to share among guests.

Fruit preserves: clockwise, starting from the large jar: bitter orange curls, bergamot (pergamonto) strips, apricot jam, green tomato jam, quince strips (under a cloudy sky with the apricot tree in bloom).

The contents of my jars display a plethora of wealth with their range of colours, as diverse as those found in a cornucopia, signalling abundance and nourishment. My work towards this aim is unpaid in monetary terms, but it does not go without reward. Those who eat from their contents thank the maker with their satisfied smiles as they lick the syrup away from their lips.

On the one hand, the jars conceal any sign of the impoverishment that has been forced on society as a whole; on the other, they are a symbol of hard work and perseverance, a persistent desire to remain standing, unconquered and astute.         

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