Cooking is in the air

There’s a new trend in Athens: Cooking seems to becoming more and more popular. Granted, two very well-liked TV cooking shows helped. Master Chef and Top Chef are presented for the first time here in Greece, with a “reality TV” twist of course, which to be honest is a drawback for me. However, I’m not sure if this reality aspect is more obvious to me because it involves Greeks (foreign people always have a mysterious charm) or if indeed, the reality aspect is more intense in the Greek versions than in the same shows abroad.

Whatever the case, these shows proved to be quite popular and all of a sudden cooking magazines started appearing timidly. We are still far from Gourmet or Saveur standards but old magazines and magazines that are new and fresh are everywhere and people, now more than ever, talk about food, go to cooking classes, read about food.

And that’s a great start which, I hope, will inspire everyone, especially Greek mothers. I hope they will be inspired to try new things, like a medium-rare steak for example. For up until today in most traditional Greek kitchens (including my dear mama K’s), a steak is cooked well done. My twin butchers (yes, they are actually twins; like Tweedledum and Tweedledee from Alice in Wonderland) were telling me the other day how they are struggling to persuade their customers that a steak is not supposed to be very thin and that it is not supposed to be cooked very, very well done!

Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in Greek cooking. I think it’s quite underrated as it has so much more to offer and I only hope that one day I’ll be able to do something to help the world see that. But until that time comes, making cooking the new trend and getting people interested in food is exactly what is needed to elevate the level of cuisine in this country. Encouraging traditional cooks like mama K to try something new (yes, she bought a pumpkin this fall!) and inviting the younger to cook for themselves is exciting. I feel that this is the beginning of a new era. Or at least a small step! In any case it is lots of fun to be surrounded by people who discover what has been a passion of mine for so long!

As for me, with my inspiration back, I spend my evenings cooking, although I must admit some nights I am so tired that grilling a steak with a fried egg and a slice of cheddar is the best I can do. Medium-rare of course ;)