All posts filed under: culture

picky toddler: greek foods that don’t go to the dog

My dear friend A, who lived on a Greek island for 20 years, where daily she tended a fabulous fruit and vegetable garden so skillfully that we named her Lara Crop, left it all behind to move to the US. One day, beyond disbelief, she Skyped me to tearfully announce that lemons there cost a dollar apiece and were all GMO. It was then that I was struck with the realization that despite the crappy crisis and many other problematic issues in this country, we are at least fortunate enough to live in a place where neighbours with country houses will actually try to force bags of garden-grown, organic lemons on you so they don’t have to watch them rot in a pile. Here, we are still lucky enough (but for how long, I don’t know) to have access to rich varieties of non-GMO, healthy and delectable, locally-grown foods; saying that, the majority of fruit & veg is heavily sprayed so one has to seek out the organically grown stuff, and even then there’s the issue …

the greek model

By Adrian Vrettos I LOVE the ancient Greek female form – in whatever modern shape it now appears in around the streets of Athens. It offers a lengthy visual delight for modern-ancient Greek males, including myself; especially in spring. Most of my friends prefer long, thin, almost boyish-looking women such as can also be viewed in showcases at the Museum of Cycladic Art. Other friends prefer large-breasted, hippy women with narrow waists that can be seen, among other places, at the museum in Knossos, where they are also usually armed with a couple of snakes. Some friends have a preference for the buxom, fleshy, well-rounded female form such as those found draped in marble cloaks at the National Archaeological Museum. Inspired by my scientific training, I decided to classify these shapes. After hours of painstaking investigation at the Benaki Museum and The Clumsies bar, I have drawn up a new classification system: it’s called Modelism. And it comes with categories such as Pre-Modelism, Late Pre-Modelism, and Post-Modelism. Somewhat befuddled? Allow me: since in Greek pre-history there was no Internet, high-circulating magazines or TV, …

a positive mentaleaty

In the somewhat edgy, yet lively and up-and-coming neighbourhood of Kerameikos, as you walk past a scattering of cozy, youth-filled cafes and bars, you’ll arrive at a restaurant with the curious name Mentaleaty Asian Food Therapy. Created by the Athina-Elipis social cooperative that started in 2011, bolstered by European Union funding, Mentaleaty offers employment opportunities to individuals with severe mental health issues as well as offering all profits toward their care. “A group of us started the Athina-Elpis social cooperative in 2011,” says psychologist Effie Koutsi. “The objective was to provide good employment opportunities to individuals who otherwise have little or no chance of earning their own money and getting social benefits, and to help them integrate socially. We started by running a cleaning service for public and private businesses and organisations. After that we ran a small photocopy shop in a clinic for people with Alzheimer’s, and next a small café. Mentaleaty is our most recent project, opening at the start of 2016”. The team opted for Asian cuisine in order to stand out …

Greece on a Plate

What does Greece taste like to the most successful Greek-origin chefs in the world? By Alexia Amvrazi Chef Michael Psilakis Award-winning chef Michael Psilakis owns the lauded Kefi, MP Taverna, The Hall at MP and Fishtag restaurants in the US for which he has received numerous accolades, including the James Beard Award and a Michelin Star. His book How To Roast A Lamb was received with great aplomb for its heartening references to comforting Greek foods and earned him several TV appearances and articles in major publications. MOST EVOCATIVE TASTE & AROMA OF GREECE: Lemon. The bright acidity it provides is the basis of why the simplicity of Greek cuisine is so brilliant. Every bite starts anew when the lemony finish cleanses the palate and prepares the taste buds to experience subtle nuances, as if it were the first bite. FAVORITE GREEK FOOD TO EAT RAW: Sea urchin, cracked on the rocks, rinsed in the ocean, with a squeeze of lemon, salt… equals heaven. IT’S WORTH DEDICATING HOURS TO COOK…: Live fire, spit-roasted lamb, embodies the …

Forget IKEA – Egneus is Sweden’s loveliest gift to Greece

Daniel Egneus made a colorful splash on the Athens art scene last summer with his exhibition of 100 drawings of Athens streets at the Zoumboulakis Gallery, titled ‘As I Walked Out One Morning’. His juxtaposition of vivid, fantastical and beatific elements with gritty, harsh or eerie characteristics is a common thread in his work, displaying a complex and profound perspective about people and the urban or natural worlds they inhabit, both materially and figuratively. In only four years of living in Athens, following decades in a string of other European cities, Egneus has created hundreds of paintings, sketches andillustrations that, critically, attest to an impressively illustrated and highly original perspective of the city. I interviewed the artist on a rainy day in his apartment at the border between Syntagma and Plaka, sitting at his desk to take a privileged look through a lot of his work on giant screens and sipping tea that took him several attempts to make, because of a temperamental kettle it seems. Let’s start at the very beginning… I quit school really early. All …

marina’s mindfulness maze

Upon entering the As One experiential event premises in the Benaki Museum Pireos St Annexe, I’m handed a locker key and asked to put away any technology used for timekeeping or outer communication (phone – optional). Being the mum of a toddler this is quite challenging to do. Next starts a walk through a series of rooms separated by curtains, in each of which a black-clad volunteer guides participants through exercises for shaking off the outside world, stretching, breathing, opening up (lungs, muscles, mind), creating flexibility. Participants are then shown to a large table covered in black headphone sets and invited to take one. The moment I put them on I am immersed in complete silence as if plunging deep underwater, and as I turn the corner along the wide corridor leading into the main hall where all the mindfulness exercises take place, it looks more like a performance art piece that enhances my light-headed feeling of surrealism. At the same time, somewhere inside me is the blissful sense of connecting to somethin new – an idea? a possible reality? – that …

insuring your happiness

RECENTLY I had to go to my neighbourhood Social Security Organization offices to get a certain paper. With my son in my arms, I stepped into the waiting room at 8:30am, fresh-faced and smiling. Within nanoseconds, my jaw dropped and my eyes glazed over as I regarded the massive crowd of people waiting to be served by employees at the four desks. “Oh the numbers have already run out!” a woman told me in a warm, conspiratorial tone. “But it’s only eight thirty am!” I exclaimed. “Oh you need to come here at six am if you want to get one! “Six am?? But it doesn’t open til eight!” “Quarter to eight,” she said, “and if you want to get a ticket you need to queue up from six am to do so. The following day, there I was, me and another 80 or so people, mumbling, sipping coffee, smoking cigarettes, cracking jokes about how advanced our country has become. Some waiting patiently, listening to their music, others already enraged by the experience, others still chatting …

tomas watson’s indian depth

TOMAS Watson welcomed me into his studio, housed in an almost derelict old house in the lush village of Menites on the Cycladic island of Andros, and as he painted I asked him questions. Having known him for several years, our conversations normally take place over a dinner table, usually crowded with delicious meze dishes and frosty carafes of hima wine. Never one to put on airs, despite being a successful artist, he regularly and openly discusses his art, the ins and outs of his working processes, the things that perplex, block or catalyze him when painting, but I have never actually watched him paint until this day. I feel quite honoured to be able to sit in a corner of his working space, thick with the dizzying odour of turpentine, immersed as I watch him talk, move and create, as if he is doing something mundane like washing a car or making tea, while in fact, he is producing a magnificent, giant artwork that five months later sold very well in London. It’s somewhat mesmerising to …

in search of an honest man BY adrian vrettos

ONE OF my all-time heroes is Diogenes the Cynic, who spent most of his life chilling out in his barrel outside the city-state of Corinth . He was the original Cynic because he believed that men and women lived a life dictated by rules and taboos and therefore no one was really truthful or honest. Actually Diogenes is my hero because he was witty, rude, and had little respect for authority. For example, when Alexander the Great rode down to visit Diogenes in his barrel, he offered Diogenes any gift of his choice. With a scowl, Diogenes snapped back his response: “What you’ve taken away, you can never give me.” “Huh?” said Alex. “You’re standing in my sun.” What most people know about Diogenes is that he wandered around ancient Greece carrying a lantern and searching for an honest man. In Plaka you can find the figures of him and his lantern and Rataplan, his mangy mutt. What most people don’t know is why he went searching for an honest man when he believed, as a …

coming home

BY GUEST WRITER Eileen Botsford There comes a time in life when we realise how lucky we are and feel the need to give back, to give to those who are in more need than us. Thankfully I have met that point in my life a few times. I have now however, come to realising these actions through means that I find most beneficial both for the recipient and myself. The process entails helping people through being creative, and hopefully by doing that, they are given a small push to start moving toward positive directions in their lives. At the end of 2014 I was privileged to be approached by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST) to collaborate with them in their Educational Program, ‘EMST Without Borders’. This was a real honour for me, as I had been following the wonderful and inspirational work that ‘EMST Without Borders’ had been doing for a while. It was at about the same time that I was building a workshop template that I call ‘Project Home’, a template applicable to a variety …