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We Speak What We Eat

November 28, 2009

Maria Hnaraki in The Smart Set:

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).

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