I have started to avow my incredible endearment for food a few years ago while I was going through a very difficult time. When the level of stress, exhaustion and anxiety have reached their highest, light has come in the form of food: cooking food, eating food, understanding food and especially sharing food. Initially I thought I was discovering a passion, a talent. In reality, I was acknowledging a relation, a history, a collection of memories about food that have made a bit and more about who I am today.
My true experience of discovery started in London where I found and learned about the incredible variety of food cultures, tastes and produce from around the world. And if there is something that I really appreciate about this crowded mega metropolis is that one can find at least a place to acquire food and spices from every corner of this magic world.
When I got my first job in the ‘business of caring for people’ as the national health service jargon goes around in England, my future manager interviewed me in several ways in addition to the formal process. Without notice or insight, there were two essential tests I needed to pass: first involved getting on with her dog, and boy, that was love at first sight for the both of us. The second test was a dinner invitation. This is when I first tried baba ghanoush only to realise how much it resembled our Romanian aubergine salad. The task, which I apparently accomplished with grace, was to demonstrate my ‘ability’ to share food. And that was when I realised that something so basic as an act involving food – this humble substance we absorb every day – is the foundation of caring for others and the foundation of developing, nurturing and preserving communities.
My sweet thriving relation to food also involved fashion and trends. My taste for food buzzed with interests for all sorts of culinary cultures but also with the ‘health and wellbeing’ trends. And before you are judging me for being a hipster of the avocado club, let me tell you what I have learned from trends and ‘health diets’ I experimented all the way through my eight years of London. The first major one was becoming gluten free. And I am honest when I say that I really thought I was gluten intolerant and that quitting gluten for six months made me feel healthier than quitting smoking for the same length of time. However, I am a bread addict and through the end of the six months I got myself tested for gluten intolerance and got the green light to return to my obsession: bread. I have to appreciate though that having to replace wheat with other cereals opened up an incredible journey of discovering the unimaginable huge world of grains and seeds. Than for different periods of time I gave up dairy, sugar or meat. Through all this renunciations, I might not have found the perfect health or youth without old age, but I have managed to open the door to a fascinating gastronomical diversity as an inspiration for every day I am offered to live on this planet.
Food is the essence of life…In an ideal world, there were we imagine the most fabulous things that our mind can master, life begins and revolves around love. For me, the encounter with food is an out of this world experience, a medium where knowledge happens. The taste creates a platform for contact with nature, with spirituality, with humans. Good food is a declaration of love. But when I talk about ‘food’, I am not only talking about cooked food. I also think about individual eatable entities that nature has offered us to provide the life of us, humans. I take pleasure and feel grateful whenever I can feel the smell of vegetables and fruits, when I taste their incredible aromas. I am full of wonder and fascination when I learn about the nutritive and healing power of vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices. I am full of humility and gratitude whenever I eat meat. And finally, I am overly fascinated with human ingenuity in preparing food. Whenever I taste a new recipe I try to imagine how it was firstly made. What thoughts and inspiration went into the first creation of a certain dish.
Food can teach us about geography, about history and especially about cultures. Food creates connections. Food changes our DNA. Food is inspirational. Food is comfort. Food is sensuality. Food is spirituality. Food is a story, food is a secret, food is a secret revealed. Whenever we cook something, we add the thoughts and emotions, we create a ‘text’, we create a message. Every ingredient comes together to write up the story, the way ingredients bound together, the order of how every aroma explodes in your brain. And every eater’s response to the food adds more to the story.
My blog is an invitation to write up food stories together.
In world where so many children have no idea how vegetables look like before becoming their meals, where we throw out at least a third of the food we produce, where people die of hunger in the same place where obesity became a health risk higher than smoking and alcohol, where our planet is destroyed so we can fill our stomachs beyond necessity towards self-harm, we can make a difference by reconsidering how we feel about how we eat. Therefore, with this project, I would like to contribute to the change by addressing and rethinking our culinary ‘language’.