Katerina is a young girl who is curious to learn how to cook. Despite of her interest, her parents have never given her a chance to learn as they do not have time to teach her. She has considerable knowledge on what cooking is about, knowledge she has acquired from watching cooking shows on television. Katerina’s mother, Katina agrees to show Zucchini omelet is to be prepared. Katerina is excited to demonstrate her techniques in front of the camera. She also wants to perfect her technique, which is the main goal of such television shows (Sutton, 2009, p.63).
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The people of Kalymnos have always been mindful about what they eat and what they cook. There is concern that young people like Katerina will never learn how to cook. The introduction of the fast foods in the market in the recent times has made young people dependent on ready-made food (Sutton, 2009, p.63).
The use of video in cooking is a recent methodological tool. It captures the attention of the audience more than other traditional methodologies do. Apprenticeship is a traditional method of learning to cook. It involves the apprentice to acquire the skills and learn the techniques of cooking through observing what the master does. Techniques and skills change with time. To be a good apprentice, one has to learn hard and face the challenges. Research has shown that girls get the skills necessary for cooking better than boys do. Their bodies are balanced and can stand extended period without tiring as it is required for the apprentice (Sutton, 2009, p.64).
The kitchen in Kalymnos is an environment where different activities take place. To achieve this, there is a need to select the right tools to use and also the right techniques. The Kalymnian kitchen is organized as a workspace. The kitchen is used as a cultural artifact of the people and also as an expression of the mother/daughter relationship (Sutton, 2009, p.65).
The kitchen is only for the mother and her daughter in the family. The daughter’s kitchen should be next to that of her mother. The location of the daughter’s kitchen near the mother’s kitchen is essential as the daughter will require constant advice on cooking. The mother controls the daily cooking of the extended family. Kalymnians also have different cooking techniques. The most obvious one is cutting potatoes in the hand and other cooking items. The people uses different hand-cutting technique which even though they have no practical advantages, they help to keep traditions of Kalymnians (Sutton, 2009, p.63).
Katerina’s cooking lessons show the relations and struggles that may be present at the kitchen. The fact that this kitchen will be her own, after paying of the dowry, gives her confidence as she negotiates with her mother. Katina teaches her daughter cooking skills and techniques on the use of different tools. The text captures communication and social relations as the daughters are taught valuable skills, such as, cutting in the hand (Sutton, 2009, p.66).
Traditional techniques are essential as they create succession among generation, and this is a vital unifying factor. Nowadays, some Kalymnians fail to learn the skill, and there is a concern that with time, the technique will be abandoned (Sutton, 2009, p.67).
- Will young people learn how to cook or will they fall prey to ready-made food in the market?
- What is the most significant in the traditional cooking habits and techniques, cutting in the hand?
- Will there be a change in cooking techniques with time?
Sutton, D. (2009). The Mindful Kitchen, The Embodied Cook : Tools, Technology and Knowledge Transmission on a Greek Island. Material Culture Review 70 (Fall), 63-68.