I’ve been to gastronomic festivals in couple of countries. You usually get a programme, with a starting time, and with precise times to know when and where which chef will be cooking. @Tbilisigastroweek lured us with interesting announcements and we chose to go on 1 October, because of the promise of a seeing chefs cook and tasting meals from different countries, which set it apart from my previous “chefs of the country where the festival is” kind of thing.
So, when due to traffic we arrived 20 minutes into the event, people were gathering slowly in Ciskari by the Turtle Lake. Good, Georgians do not keep it according to schedule, I thought. We had no programme, and no one around seemed to have one. There was wine and cheese and churchkhela to welcome guests. Two hours or so into the event, some images appeared on the big screen and a chef took his place behind the table. Thanks, they obliged with an English power point and I could understand who that was. My initial bother about what seemed like a delay to me and unforeseeable sequence of the workshops retreated under the influence of a glass of Georgian wine and the majestic calm of walnut trees under which the tables were set. And I got to enjoy this “no rush no hustle “ type of organisation, because there was clearly an organisation to it. The scenery of the nearby Turtle Lake added to the rhythm of going with the flow.
I will not go into all presentations and demonstrations. Those curious can see it all on Tbilisigastroweek social media. The workshops started with Chef @Tekunia who introduced the Georgian chef Guram @Chvenirestaurant.
Chef Guram and his team made for us Street food Pork and red beans stew/ pickled Staphylea with homemade mayonnaise/Georgian “nadughi” mint cream cheese topping.
Chef @Maksutaskar from Turkey @Neolokal restaurant in Istanbul gave a lecture about Anatolian cuisine and the things we share. Very valuable in a world of division. I loved the concept he introduced – “Mothers’ nation “- a concept of transmission between mothers and daughters (and sons), beyond borders and nations. The image of him and his mother was heart-warming. He also shared another type of maps – a culinary map, to look differently perhaps at the world we see. He advocated for cooking as a tribute to tradition mindful of adding sustainability to it.
Congratulations to the team of @Tbilisigastroweek for their first such event. Keep organising them, in your own unique style. We will gladly oblige.
“Dear friends, would you like to join me for breakfast tomorrow, on Sunday? I have at least three reasons to celebrate:)” reads my email to my friends.
Earlier this week, they were the ones who said I should celebrate it when I shared the news about my master diploma. Fully taken by my daily duties, I left unmarked the moment i received the University’s confirmation that I met all the diploma requirements.
My friends’ support on the last stages of my dissertation and their natural joyful celebration mood made me think “Why do we need reasons to celebrate?” Reason is a function of the brain. Celebration is more from the heartland. Left to my brain, my master diploma is a fait acoompli and I should be heading to another challenge. “What’s next?” is already implanted in my mind. Pausing a bit, only my heart knows how it actually felt to raise a baby, have a full time job and study for my second master’s, all at the same time. I owe a big celebration to my heart for all of it. I owe it to myself, my wise friends told me.
A month after her birthday, my kid said she wants a Spring birthday party, and a Summer birthday party and an Autumn one. Indeed, who said there should be only one birthday party a year?! She does not have yet an adult perception of time and of a calendar. She does not need to look for a reason. The reason is always there. She is the reason and this is more than enough.
We wait and postpone. Other commitments take over. Accomplishments become info on a resume or a life event we put on our facebook wall. We look back and wonder how was our last month, last summer, last year, or last ten years…It can be a little fuzzy, isn’t it?’
To acknowledge an event or an achievement one does not always need a social gathering or expensive champaign ( which is nice from time to time) or anything very elaborate. Sometimes a simple “Thank you” ritual, a cup of tea shared with loved ones, couple of volunteer time hours, time to yourself indulging on your favorite pastime, paint a figurine, anything you choose to mark and cherish what you did to materialize your aspirations and how this made a better you, is memorable. Count your blessings, they say. Small or big they are yours. Observe them, mark and honour them in any way you like. You’ll see little stars appearing on your life board, joining in constellations and galaxies to brighten your life.
My Sunday breakfast turned into a celebration of the three of us. My master diploma was one reason to celebrate. “What are the other two reasons you mentioned in your email?”, asked my friends. “Well, it’s you”, I answered to their bemusement and offered each their portraits my kid drew on our last trip together. I framed and wrapped them as gifts for their upcoming birthday, which they celebrate a day apart next week. Their happy faces became stars on my life board. They mark our friendship, my kid’s talent and just a beautiful Sunday morning in a lovely company.