Greece

Greeks do not spend but eat time. They eat their years studying and working, but also their liver, when they try hard to achieve what they want. Greeks eat their words, when they forget, are stressed or say fat lies. They eat rain when wet; their moustaches when they intensively argue; their tongues when they do not mean what they just said; cabbage and straw when they easily believe; and noodles when the ones they love set them aside. They may even eat you as onion stew, unless they like you so much, and thus crave for you.

Greek clocks do not waste but eat minutes. Greek noses, when curious, eat you. If Greek hands are hungry, you will soon get money, or be beaten. In Greece, too much work does not harm but eats you; you are not being scolded but eaten, you are not getting a boot but being eaten or even… eating wood (namely, getting beaten with a stick). Your head is not itching, but eating, and you are not searching thoroughly but are eating the world, hoping you won’t be eaten by the woodworm. Not only do you have to be aware of eating someone with your eyes, but also of not forgetting that in aging you are actually eating your own bread.

Ancient Greeks seemed to know the dialectics between language and food. Pindar offered food via his poetry. The thought of his lyric works as refreshing drinks and his melodies as sounding sweet as honey. Several literary species in classical Greece were expressed via cooking metaphors: satyr was the “sampler dish,” whereas the farce functioned as an interlude — “stuffing” amidst a serious performance. The general idea was that both books and men of letters were technicians producing pleasant mixtures for the mouth or the mind so as to satisfy the hunger of the word-eaters (lexifágos).

For ancient Greeks, “the beginning and the root of each good was the pleasure of the abdomen,” or, as Greeks today say, even “love goes through the stomach.” The ancient Greek “table” became the word for the Modern Greek “bank” (trápeza). Greeks still speak of the Epicurean feast, a sumptuous meal, and the Meal of Lucullus. They recall the famous symposia, the 30 sophists who sat around a dinner table to discuss a wide range of topics in the Banquet of Scholars by Athenaeus and “the dining philosophers problem,” which combine learning with… eating.

A central life concept, time (hrónos), is a word which etymologically relates to Kronos (Krónos). According to mythology, Kronos was the rather unaffectionate father of Zeus, who ate his children in an effort to maintain his authority. The great tragic poets of Greece attributed to Zeus adjectives such as caterer (trofodótis), alimentary (trofónios), fructuous (epikárpios), of the apples (milósios), and of the figs (sikásios). In addition, the word diet (díaita) stems from the Greek name for Zeus, namely, Días. Even the word nutrition, diatrofí, is a composite of the words días and trofí, thus, “Zeus” and “food.” In that context, nutrition is the proper diet, the one Zeus had, consisting of dittany tea (díktamo), honey (méli), and goat’s milk (gála).

Greek words may be sweet as sugar, coming out of a mouth as a river of honey. They may be silent as a fish or a pillar of salt, or calm as yogurt. When Greeks speak rudely, elders put pepper on their tongues. But when they get angry, they need to swallow vinegar. “Good appetite,” “To your health,” and “Good digestion” are frequently used expressions in Greek, absent from English. In a country where hospitality is lavish, village rules deem that one who enters the coffeehouse must treat those already present.

In Greek, “language” and “tongue” are one word: glóssa. “In the beginning was the Word”, the Lógos, something born in the mouth. The Annunciation is nothing else but a verbal conception: As the Virgin Mary absorbs the words of the Holy Ghost, she becomes pregnant and gives birth to Christ. Words, thus, using the human body and brain as transportation vessels are getting into the mouth and down the larynx to the pharynx and the esophagus, where they will be devoured and assimilated. Keep on reading via The Smart Set: We Speak What We Eat