Culinary Cultural Heritage of Greece – The Pie

Koroni, the region of origin of the famous “Koroni olivetree” (a very productive in high quality olive-oil variety of the common olive-tree), was chosen as the Greek emblematic community, in 2008, when first attempts were made for the submission of the joint nomination file by the first four countries (Greece, Italy, Morocco and Spain) to have it inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO Convention of 2003).
Besides the symbolism involved with and invested in each element inscribed on the UNESCO Lists, there is always the need for further documentation and promotion. So, in order to promote the riches related to this common Mediterranean cultural element, we created an e-booklet (greek, english) with a small but representative selection of Greek pies that we present today.
Inside the pie pastry we find greens (free-growing in the meadows, or cultivated in gardens) as well as eggs, dairy products, meat or fisheries. In other words, it is a product that combines two of the elements of the ‘trinity’ (oil and flour) with all the other food that has been recognized as archetypical of a healthy and balanced diet. The production and consumption of food is a cultural code equally rich and meaningful to that of language. Pie is a sort of traditional “fast food”: it is produced relatively quickly, and can easily be consumed outside the house, at the modern workplace, or at the fields. It is the ‘queen’ of the table of the poor, since it can be made from the remaining of other meals. Nothing is thrown away, it can be re-cooked, refreshed and become a new relish. It is also the food of the feast, of the unique occasion that we wish to share with those around us. Pie pastry is folded and embraces its materials. And this has a symbolic meaning: pie unites those who share the same exceptional customary circumstances, and, at the same time, it implies a wish for a permanent union through the folding of its pastry sheets. This short booklet of pies is organized around the narratives of those who shared their recipes with us. Our colleague, Yiannis N. Drinis, Folkorist, encouraged the people who contributed with their family recipes to mention particularly the circumstances of the production and consumption of the pies.
Memory often depends on taste and smell. The collective memory of a community is reproduced and re-formed around their narratives. The narratives about food, how and when we produce and consume food, are among the most common and, at the same time, the least studied. Maybe because they are considered to belong to the private domain, to the space of women. But this is not the case. They are collective narratives in a broader sense. Diet habits define cultural groups, they create cultural identity and, of course, otherness. The combination of ingredients in the pies that we present here, as well as the circumstances of consumption are unique for each one of these. We hope that you will enjoy all of them. They are part of our shared heritage, of a common alimentary civilization around the Mediterranean basin