What has happened to the traditional cooking knowledge? A few days ago, I found some photos from earlier this summer of the 10th Agricultural August – Land and Culrure Fair. The Fair took place at the Venetian harbour of Chania and was framed by rural and food products and few samples of popular artifacts of Municipalities of Chania, Cretan businesses and women’s Agrotouristic Cooperatives.
Now, the question is about those food products which were made by women farmers and Cooperatives. Indeed, a lot of quality food products were available at their kiosks:
loukoumades and small pies (kalitsounia) made with a variety of stuffings,
small semi-sweet cheese pies (lyhnarakia)
gorgeous thin cheese pies from Sfakia sprinkled with honey
honey, raki, rusks, semi-sweet breads
cheeses, olives, olive oil, wines, dried pasta,
fried pastry sweets (xerotigana), spoon sweets etc., etc.
However… these were products that fulfill the interest of outsiders who have an apriori notion of cretan cuisine and represent only a small part of the rusks, homemade cheeses, pasta etc. that differentiate the food from region to region. What has happened? I wonder. Do women make food products that are already well known and make good profits? Or is the loss of traditional transmission of knowledge from mothers and grandmothers to daughters and granddaughters? Of course urbanization broke part of the link between mothers and daughters and modernization led to a loss of many chararceristics of traditional cooking, especially those regarding utensils, methods and eating behaviors. On the other hand, cuisines of Cretan agricultural regions still rely heavily on tradition, though allow room for many innovations.
Looks like those women of 35-50 have lost a part of the culinary memoir. Are their mothers the connection to a way of cooking that is gradually being lost? When they are gone the link will disappear as well? I wonder….