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November 29, 2016
Cooking brings memories back to life!

The weather is so cold and rainy these days it’s hard to believe that it just summer a minute ago and now Christmas is almost here! How does time go by so fast?

While I was at Kitchen Lab yesterday I made one of my Greek specialties. All of the guys filming always watch me cooking and we all work really hard to make it all come together.  I sort of wanted to thank them in my own way… and since sometimes a food is like a warm hug, I thought I’d hug them a little!

This time of year fresh and tasty tomatoes are non-existent, I thought I’d use one of my favorite Greek canned products from a Greek company called “Omospondia”. I opened up a can of tomatoes and so many images rushed into my mind.

I’m from the city of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece, where the cultivation of industrial tomatoes is one of the most important cultivations in the vicinity…

During the very hot days of August, trucks that full of tomatoes freshly picked from the fields are taken to the factories to be turned in to tomato juice, or canned in all these magical ways.

That bright red color and the characteristic rich, sweet-tangy aroma of these tomatoes is so intense that it has become a vital part of summer for me....

The mud that collects on the pavement at the intersection where the trucks and tractors come off of the fields… the shouting of the workers in the fields… bees and wasps…

Have any of you ever been to a tomato processing factory? This rich smell from the tomatoes is multiplied by 100! The air is so completely saturated with the aroma that your head starts to reel from the sweetness!

What has always impressed me is how all of these aromas are locked into the bottle or can. The process seems almost magical to me…

The corridors full of crates that are packed to the rim with tomatoes… the workers whose hands work almost automatically… the sounds of all the machinery….

I know, most of you open up a can of tomato paste and you couldn’t even imagine or don’t even wonder about how all of this goodness got into a can and made it all the way to your kitchen! For me, the image of the White Tower – the most characteristic monument of the city of Thessaloniki – place on a red background, which makes up the company’s logo, is something that stirs a lot of memories in me…

It takes me back to my childhood, when I would help my grandmother make spaghetti in the kitchen. She would always tell me to put the lid back in the can when it was done, so that I wouldn’t cut myself when I would throw it in the garbage. This is actually one of the things I always advise everyone to do on many of my shows on You Tube or on T.V.

Oh my goodness! Do you think I’m turning into my grandmother?!!! :-)

The other day, all of the guys from the company dropped by to visit me. They showed me their new line of products in glass and paper packaging… all of their beans, ready packed foods cooked in oil and even some of their pasta varieties. I was so happy to see all of their progress as well as the White Tower on their logo which is on all of their packaging!

I’m thinking of planting a small basil plant in one of their 800 g cans!  :-)

I’m off to start filming again!! Marco! Let’s goooo!!!!!

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