An intergenerational action that whetted our appetite!

An intergenerational action that whetted our appetite!

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“Story on the Plate” was successfully completed: two generations came to together to share memories of the past and a vision for the future of Messinian gastronomy!

The innovative intergenerational action designed by MedINA for the preservation and promotion of traditional knowledge about Messinian gastronomy was implemented in a specifically tailored two-step workshop on Tuesday, November 7 and Thursday, November 9, in Pylos and Kalamata respectively.

The participants of the workshop were members of the Ladies’ Association in Pylos, who revealed the secrets of traditional Messinian recipes and shared memories and stories, as well as first- and second-year culinary students from the Horizon Vocational Training Institute in Kalamata.

The first day was dedicated to tradition, at the welcoming Stone House of the Captain Vassilis and Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation (CVF) in Pylos. The focus of the action was on three traditional dishes full of taste and memories: traditional rooster with lemon rice, green bean (rovitsa) soup and local sweet porridge. The members of the Ladies’ Association of Pylos cooked the dishes with the help of the young culinary students. The stories shared by the ladies came to “tie together” the recipes and reveal the essential ingredient of the dishes – love. Using the theatre of objects as a tool – a ladle told us a secret story and gave us important advice: what is said in the kitchen must stay in the kitchen! The closing of the day had a little surprise: a time machine enabled the students to transport an element of the past to the present. There were three elements that were brought into the present: simplicity, calmness, and smell. The surprise? Students were asked to create their own modern versions of traditional dishes by adding these elements!

The second day was dedicated to young people in the wonderful facilities of the Horizon Vocational Training Institute in Kalamata. The creative versions of the young chefs were presented and a fruitful dialogue with the Ladies’ Association of Pylos was opened. The ladies actively participated, embracing the modern approaches, and declaring themselves inspired to add new perspectives to the way they cook. Of course, after the theoretical presentations and the new narratives that unfolded, we all got into the kitchen together, cooked and tasted the dishes. The day and the whole activity ended with the participants sharing their experience and expressing the desire to continue to meet in the kitchen!

The experience was full of flavour and emotion with the main conclusion being that tradition is a living organism that travels from word of mouth and is enriched by each person who carries it, with the only requirements being maintaining a sense of community and the ritual of cooking and sharing stories – our Story!

The meeting of the two generations proved, once again, that intergenerational programmes are important for all participants involved and valuable in many ways. At the same time, important issues emerged through the narratives: the link between food systems and environmental protection, seasonality and the origin of the ingredients we use, the importance of community and the value of traditional knowledge for our future.

A special thank you to the Captain Vassilis and Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation for their support and care, to the president of the Ladies’ Association in Pylos, Mrs. Georgia Visvikis, and the head of studies of the Horizon Vocational Training Institute in Kalamata, Mr. Nikos Stakias, who not only both embraced the events but also put creative ideas for continuation on the table. Finally, we would like to thank Chef Stelios Barbeas who participated by actively supporting the students’ effort and the whole team of Horizon Vocational Training Institute in Kalamata.