"It's a chance for Europe, for the European Union, to show that a country that is in an adjustment programme is a normal country" (which country is a good example of a 'normal' one?)
My blog originated in August of 2007 as a seemingly Greek recipe blog. But by the end of that year, I had already written my first identity crisis story. I didn't tag it as 'identity crisis' back then, because it looked more like a crisis of modernity, a consumer crisis rather than an identity crisis. Back then, if I told a Greek that the story I had written showed the early warning signs of an identity crisis, they'd have called me nuts. Back in those days, I would have been told how little I understood the Greeks. The Greeks' interpretation of how I viewed what was happening would have been cynical: "You're jealous of others, Maria, because you can't live like them, or perhaps, you don't want to live like them." Better late than never, I say; at least we are now unable to continue in the way that I describe the people acting in the story.
At the same time as blogging about the food I cooked in our home, which has not changed much over the last six years, I incorporated stories, often based on food (to act as a cover), that described elements of Greek identity, usually in the form of fictionalised facts, and characters grounded in my real life acquaintances. I foresaw that one day I would not have anything to blog about if I simply stuck to recipes. There is only a finite number of foods that genuinely Greek cooks cook for their family. The idea of veering into the world beyond Greek food (apart from learning to use our garden produce in different ways) simply reeked of commercialism, and it did not suit my frugal nature. In short, I didn't want my food blog to start looking like a foodie blog, because that was never the point of my writing. What's more, I really liked writing the stories much more than the recipes. For this reason, I have decided to concentrate from now on only on the stories associated with living in Greece. They naturally take much longer to write. Hence, I won't be blogging every day, and I won't necessarily be blogging about food.
I was recently playing around with some of my older blog posts, turning them into e-book files, and I was amazed with how beautiful I could make my blog look on an e-reader. This led to something that I knew I would have to do a long time now, having often been reprimanded by friends for not having done it already. I am starting to write something bigger than a blog, something that will be able to go into print. I won't call it a book, because, in essence, it will not be a book exactly, though it may have a bookish form. Nevertheless, it will be something printable, and hopefully unique, combining Greek food and Greek identity. The project will be revealed slowly over the course of the year. Because I am working on it all by myself, I don't really know when it will be finished. It probably won't be available commercially, so the blog remains the main platform to develop it.
Whatever form that bigger-than-a-blog thing takes, I really want it to be something quintessentially and timelessly Greek. I don't want it to be something that will look interesting for a week or so, until you've flipped through it and read it, and then you put it away and don't bother again with it until you start dusting your shelves. I certainly don't want it to become ephemeral and obsolete, being taken over by something more modern as soon as it came out. You are probably right in believing that I have set myself an immesely difficult task, which is made all the more difficult by my doing it all by myself. But I think it's achievable, and I am not at all worried about failure, as I'm setting my own goals. For this reason, I will not be blogging on a regular basis this year. I'll simply be keeping readers updated through my story writing. But if I do chance on an interesting recipe, I will definitely share it with you.
As my blog changes course, and morphs (once again) into something new, diving into its own unknown abysses, I am simply rising to the challenge of not remaining stagnant. To have a happy new year in Greece, we need to feel the need to be part of a changing world; otherwise, 2014 will turn out to be just as horrible as 2013. More than ever, we need to stop showing the world our pessimism. So if you are Greek, I hope you can rise to this challenge too, of being more optimistic. Can you do it?
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