Chew Food Slowly
December 6, 2011 by staff
Chew Food Slowly, It’s the ultimate belt-tightening handbook: No Meat? Push an aubergine through the grinder instead. Chew your food long enough for your stomach to feel full. And don’t forget to sweep crumbs off your table and into a jar.
These are some of the tips Greeks used to survive the second world war occupation that have been collected in Starvation Recipes – a cookbook that has become a surprise hit as millions of Greeks struggle to make ends meet in a new era of hardship brought on by economic crisis.
In the grim years of the occupation, starving Athenians invented ways to stay alive, helped by daily advice columns in the capital’s newspapers known as “survival guides.”
Historian and high school teacher Eleni Nikolaidou spent 18 months compiling recipes and survival tips – combing through more than 6,000 scanned newspaper clippings from the 1941-44 Nazi rule to produce her book. Starvation Recipes was released this year and is on its second print run.
“It was all about getting by with very little,” said Nikolaidou.
She stumbled onto the subject two years ago while working on a masters degree on Greece’s wartime economy.
“I read an article from the front page of a newspaper, ‘How to collect crumbs’ – a little each day so that you could have a cupful of crumbs by the end of the week, something extra to survive. It really struck me.”
She was drawn in by the details: Horseshoes used to reinforce dilapidated footwear, baked sand to preserve lemons, and stray cats and dogs hunted on Athens streets for food.
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