How You Eat, You Live Your Life | Food and Culture – a state of mind

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Our memory is made of fragments of recollections. One theory in psychology says life is not the one we actually live, but the one we remember.

I open the album of memory. I leaf through it until I reach the chapter „Food – Culture (Geographical Area) – Personality (State of Mind)”.

Native town in Transylvania // Easter Sunday, one day in May. I visit a good friend. On my way to her, on foot, I take to marvellous streets flanked by houses. The weather is wonderful – sun, so much light, warmth -, and the vibe of the town – the same -, the type of tranquility so typical of small towns on days of celebration. The clink of forks and plates coming out from the courtyards is still so vivid in my mind! People were taking advantage of the nice weather to eat outdoors. Family – celebration – tradition – all around the table.

Antalya, Turkey // the beach. Afternoon, around 6. A family of Turks is sharing an enormous watermelon. They give us a slice each, too. We savour the juicy sweet slice joyfully. Even though I do not understand a word they are saying, the non-verbal language is all about gaiety and good-time. Relaxation – conversation – sun – a snack on the beach.

Spain // 5-star hotel. An excellent dinner on the terrace. Discreet lights, the murmur of water in the swimming-pool, piano music in the background, the waiter refilling the wine glasses, the evening chill. Lux – discretion – sophistication – an aesthetic and refined menu.

Greece // a tavern on the seashore. All seats are taken. We get lucky – one table just becomes available. Noise, bits of conversation, crowded space, busy waiters. Plaid table-cloths. And the sea, somewhere below. Its presence, very palpable – despite the darkness – the smell, the lights of the ships faraway, the soft sound of water. At the end of dinner – dessert on the house. Served by the owner himself. Vivacity – energy – surprise – Mediterranean style.

Bucharest, Romania // student years. Beginning of the semester. Zacuscă, schnitzels, meat-balls, pork lard, wine, plum brandy – all gluing together the conversation, holiday stories and healthy roars of laughter. Youth – je m’en fiche-ism – student life is awesome – the delish goods from home.

Germany // a rural B & B. What Frühstück! All is perfectly organised, copious, tasty. In the distance, the agriculture fields – all lined up, impeccable. Quietude, only the soothing rustling of the trees in the soft morning breeze. We eat in silence. We embrace the atmosphere of that space. Comfort – calmness – order – an excellent start of the day!

Calgary, Canada // -40° outside, but feels like -20°. We are invited to dinner to some people’s place. Inside it is warm and pleasant. The fire “is burning” in the electric fireplace. Kitchen, living-room and dining-room – an open-space going up two floors. To start with, I have some raw baby-carrots and mushrooms. Delicious! Followed by oven-roasted chicken and potatoes. Space – simplicity – pragmatism – tasty dishes, ready in a matter of minutes.

      

A Universe on a plate, in a seemingly banal context – the moment we dine. An infinity of feelings and emotions, of beliefs and values, of attitudes and conducts. As someone said once: How you do anything, you do everything! So it also goes for how and what we eat.

Now I close my album of memories – fragments. Some pages are filled up – with the past, and some are still empty – to be filled with the future. What photos do you have in your album?

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Text: Psih. LOREDANA JEFLEA

Translation: ADINA SHOLLENBARGER

Sketches: ADRIAN BRANEA

 

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