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Food as an act of love... Why I started Zelos

March 16, 2018

Family photo

In my first zealous story, I would like to talk about my love for food and the special relationship we Greeks have with eating, which were what prompted me to start Zelos.

I grew up in Greece in a family that loved good food and was cooking it from scratch every single day. There was always the fragrance of an herb or the smell of a recently-made dish wafting throughout our home. One of my fondest memories is coming back from school and having lunch with my grandmother, whom you can see with my teenaged father in the photo above. She always sat with me, even when she didn’t eat, because for her eating should always be done in good company. She was the loveliest person on earth and for her preparing a meal was an expression of love and care for us all.

This expression of love through food also came from my father, who was a strong advocate of quality. He was the one to go to different stores to find the freshest fish, the most tender meat, the best cheese, or the tastiest fruits. In the last fifteen years of his life, he cultivated a small orchard and grew his own vegetables.  He taught me that you are what you eat and that part of a happy life is good food.

My mother, being a working woman, never cooked for us until my grandmother passed away. And then she took it upon herself to become the best cook on the planet. Her specialty was Greek pies - have you ever tried one of those spanakopitas? That was her thing, she made them to perfection, even making her own dough from scratch. She enjoyed cooking a variety of dishes that we all liked and every time we met she would prepare the one that each one of us liked best, including her six grandchildren.

My story is not at all unique because nearly all Greeks have a very intimate relationship with food. Greek families spend a lot of time around dinner tables, eating and socializing, talking about all kinds of things, from the mundane to the philosophical. Dinners and lunches are always rich in taste and fragrance, with a lot of small dishes that are all put in the middle of the table to be shared. Preparing a dish involves time, attention and art, and it is very often done as an expression of affection and care for someone else.

I hold very dear that part of my culture and all the love I received through food, and I have tried to pass some of that love through food to my three children. I don’t know if I have been successful. Sometimes, between swimming practice, ballet, class homework, volunteering and work meetings, life becomes very busy. But I have tried to do my best. Today I have two adult sons who both care about what they eat, often call to ask for a recipe, and enjoy cooking with their friends. My youngest child is still at home and while she doesn’t seem all that interested in cooking, she certainly appreciates good food. I hope in the future she too, like her brothers, will come to appreciate cooking as an act of love. And I hope that Zēlos will manage to convey that special food culture that is so much a part of being Greek...or even just Greek-loving!

Maria

Share your own story of food in our comments section. Tag your food images with #ZelosGreekArtisan for a chance to be featured in our site!



4 Responses

Marie Laure Salvado
Marie Laure Salvado

April 30, 2018

From deep roots to great fruits – what a beautiful story, Maria.
As I read your family story, I can’t help to think of my own as well, deeply rooted in food and cooking from scratch with women (and a few men too!) of all ages, gathered together. I can imagine the activities in the kitchen of your childhood, smell the herbs and the dish slowly cooking in the oven. I knew why we are close friends, and this confirms it :)

ileana saldivia
ileana saldivia

April 16, 2018

Congratulations Maria in this new adventure!
The web site is beautiful, and the stories behind the artisans engaging,
I look forward to see this project grow, and have no doubt that with your talent, passion and brains, this project will be as successful as any other endeavor of yours!
Looking forward to taste some of your products soon!

Anu Mitra
Anu Mitra

April 14, 2018

Maria: Such a beautiful environment in which to grow up, surrounded by the nourishment of love and pure food. I can see how you have crafted a holistic life for yourself—made only with the things that matter most. So proud of you, my friend!

Mari Mendoza-Suro
Mari Mendoza-Suro

April 04, 2018

Maria, me encanto la historia y te felicito en tu nuevo emprendimiento, te admiro mucho. Cariños

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