Island Utopia

In This Land Nobody Knew How To Cry directed by Giorgos Panousopoulos (Greece) 2018 is a virtual kick in the balls of neoliberalism.

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A troika of technocrats from the European Parliament is on a mission to assess the conditions of an island in the Aegean whose population is slated to be relocated in order to reduce state expenses and maximize profits in the economic sector.

The long title of the film is a parody of another title, The Island Where People Forget To Die, used to describe life on Ikaria, one of several Blue Zone communities. Fitting since it was the location chosen for the film production.

Ikaria has long been used as a place of exile dating back to the Byzantine era and dissidents were sent there during WWII. It’s known for its hostility toward capitalism. And its thermal baths are popular with many locals and visitors.

All of this and more are incorporated into the story that unfolds on the contemporary fictional paradise shown in the film.

In This Land Nobody Knew How To Cry was one of eight features screened during the 16th San Francisco Greek Film Festival.

copyright © 2019 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

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Culinary Roots

Ikaria: Lessons On Food, Life, And Longevity by Diane Kochilas published 2014 by Rodale spotlights the Aegean island heritage of the author. While there are a substantial number of health tips scattered throughout because of the locale’s Blue Zone status, the heart of this book and its most valuable asset lies in its recipes.

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One surprise for me was the inclusion of tarot root among native ingredients and I look forward to trying the instructions for skordalia (page 9), a dish I’ve only had using potato or bread as the base for this garlic dip.

Other tantalizing dishes are: whipped feta kaponisti (page 7); old style Ikarian tourlou (page 135) casserole combining potatoes and zucchini; noodles with yogurt and herbs (page 190); smoked herring rice (page 201); and baby goat with avgolemono (page 243).

When searching for a recipe in the index, look first for a key ingredient and then zero in on the name of the dish!

I frequently cook savory pies from an earlier Kochilas book, The Glorious Foods Of Greece but my attempt to make my own phyllo dough was unsuccessful. However I’m going to give it another try with one of the recipes in the section on savory pies and breads.

Ikaria by Diane Kochilas, with photos by her husband Vassilis Stenos, is available in both a hardbound and e-book edition from Rodale Books.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved