An invitation to dinner-The stories

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by athenaeus, Dec 5, 2001.

  1. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Your Excellency.

    As my friends in Chef Talk are locked in the kitchen excited with the idea of your visit in our virtual community and preparing their best of menus, I take the opportunity to narrate you a story.

    I come from a small country, Greece.
    In one of our history books of high school, there was a picture of a large painting that belongs to the Library of Washington.
    In this painting, the Fathers of the American Nation are gathered around a table, discussing the forthcoming Declaration of Independence.
    Above them, seated on a cloud, all the famous ancient Greek Philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates accompagnied with Pericles and Thucidetes, are observing them. In their faces you can look the approval and the pride they feel, as they observe You the Fathers of the American Nation, to establish your country on the ideals and the morals of the most famous ancient civilization to the History of Mankind; the ancient Greek civilization.

    This painting Sir, had a great influence on me.
    It took me several years of studies though to realize the core meaning of this painting.

    The year you declared the Independence, those men on the cloud, the ancient Greek philosophers, were "dead" in the country that gave them birth.
    Long ago ( in 1453) the country was under Ottoman Occupation and the language was almost forgotten.

    But the 18th century, which was marked by the awakening of the ideal of the National State, brought to my ancestors the idea of liberating themselves from Ottoman Turks and declare their independent State.

    None in Greece really remembered of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in 18th century.

    But EVERYONE in this country had You Sir, as an ideal for your service towards the Liberation of your Country. The local press was talking about Thomas Jefferson and his ideals. Local guerillas that they were fighting against Ottoman Turks, loved to called themselves “the New Jefferson”

    Life functions in circles.

    You took from Greeks the Ideas and after 200 years you returned to them the Lights that they have lost.
    In a way, we owe You Sir, and I always wanted to take the opportunity to talk about that.

    Sometimes, I think how would you feel if you knew that Greeks in 1821 swore on your name and had you in mind when they were talking about Liberty.

    I observe that the first course of your menu is almost here so I will close my story with a culinary anecdote that is related with You.

    In 18th century, the educated Greeks that lived outside the country knew that You were very fond of the Arts and you were a connoisseur of Food.

    Some of them returned home to fight for Liberty. One of them was fighting next to the General of the revolution Theodore Kolokotronis. Although he used to be an officer in the English Army, Kolokotronis had the reputation of a very brave but very “wild Man” as well.

    One day he must have been eating like a pig and one educated soldier of his dared to observe: “General, if President Jefferson could see you eating like an animal he would be very ashamed of you. Warriors of Liberty are above all gentlemen” General replied to him: “ Maybe president Jefferson didn’t have such nice food. You do not know anything about English Food. I used to behave like a gentleman too when I was in the English Army. When you are served English Food and you are obliged to have it, you have no option but to behave like a gentleman as you cannot do anything but watch your plate”

    :)


    Bibliography
    Richard Clogg, Concise History of Modern Greece. Cambridge University Press
    Kostas Tertsetis, General Kolokotronis. Memoirs Athens 1973, revised edition
    Vivian Efthymiopoulou, The influence of the American declaration of Independence in Greek political thought, Balkan Studies 23, Cambridge University Press.
     
  2. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Most impressive...
     
  3. cape chef

    cape chef

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    fantastic...

    More,more :)
    cc
     
  4. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Well done!!!
     
  5. nancya

    nancya

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    Beautiful beginning to the evening Athenaeus!
     
  6. kimmie

    kimmie

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    BRAVO!!!

    This was a really wonderful read, Athenaeus.
     
  7. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Thanks a lot. I never loose opportunity to narrate this story to American friends of mine.
    Debts should be paid...:)

    But let's start dinning because Mr.President will be extremely hungy and I will have to narratte him another story to keep him some company!!

    ;)
     
  8. olive branch

    olive branch

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    Dear Vivian, you can tell me stories all night and all day - they are so beautiful. I'm thinking of learning to read Greek, just so I can hear them in your native tongue! Lucky Mr. Jefferson!

    When I visited his home, Monticello, I loved the dumbwaiter and the revolving shelf that brought food and wine to his dining room. His inventions wrought a beautiful connection between the everyday and the sublime, as does your story!

    Love ~ Debbie
     
  9. pastachef

    pastachef

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    Athenaeus, this is an amazing story:) Great job!!!
     
  10. pastachef

    pastachef

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    But CC is giving us the evil eye up yonder. AIIIIIIEEEE:::::::FLEEE
     
  11. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Dear pastachef....
    My eyes are not "evil"

    They are tender.
    Look at the avatar,Do they look evil to you :):D
    cc
     
  12. pastachef

    pastachef

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    Aww, CC. I was just kidding. Besides, we all know you have dark eyes:)
     
  13. rachel

    rachel

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    Do you really want us to answer that CC?
     
  14. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Your Excellency.

    As I told you in my previous story, Greeks of 19th century were strongly influenced by the American Declaration Of Liberty and by You personaly.

    But when the Revolution finally broke out many inspired people , from all over the world came to fight to the side of the Greeks.
    All of them stayed in our memories as " Philellenes" ( friends of Greeks)

    Three great American philellenes, George Jarvis, Jonathan Peckham Miller, and Howe all as youths came to offer their
    services for the Greek revolutionary cause.

    They were driven by purely idealistic motives and not by other interest as many other Europeans...

    As you know, Howe dedicated his life to philanthropy and campaigned vigorously against slavery in the US.

    His wife wrote the "Battle hymn of the republic" no doubt owing to her experiences of the suffering of the Greek people.

    They all adopted Greek orphans and with the consent of the Greek government took other orphans with them to the US
    for adoption.

    One of them Loukas Miltiades Miller grew up to be a colonel of the US army and later a US congressman from the state of Wyoming.

    Mr. President.
    there used to be a time that people , nations, cared for each other.
    I wonder what has happened to us nowdays...
     
  15. cape chef

    cape chef

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    James,
    I know I am not to be involved with all of this, But..I agree.

    Athenaues...Please share with us.
    cc
     
  16. rachel

    rachel

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    i would too.
    i haven't posted anything because I know nothing about Jefferson. now when you invite William Wallace, I'll come into my own;)
     
  17. nancya

    nancya

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    Really interesting, Athenaeus! Wyoming, you say? Interesting!
     
  18. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Mr Bond,

    I would like to help you on this thread.
    I find the writings here to be very educatinal.

    Tell me in what capacity you see me, and I will do my best to support this effort. I have already found the menus and cigar offerings to be great
     
  19. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    I know that what people find most fascinating in History those stories.

    Up to my knowledge there is not specific book that contains such short stories.

    You can extract those information from Biographies mostly. Of course these type of knowledge is not considered scientific.

    I have included the Bibliography of my first story. If you are interested in the influence of Ancient Greece in American Political Thinking the best book by far and ever is Victor's Davis Hanson and John's Heath, Who killed Homer.

    This book should be read by all Americans and all Greeks of course but mostly by Americans.

    Another interesting reading but more academical is Sir Richard 's Livingstone,The Mission of Greece, Some Greek views of Life in Ancient Roman Wolrd.

    The second story was narrated to me by my husband. He remembers it from his high school years in NY....
     
  20. isa

    isa

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    Let's not forget Jefferson went to Paris at some point. Maybe a few French recipes are in order. Truffle soup...