Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Authentic Happiness

Meditative March has made me all thoughtful and stuff. Less talk more action seems to be the motto. I've been busy socialising, cooking and living my life, too busy to be recording it all, which is starting to seem like such a ludicrous concept by the way.

I'm torn between two generations: X and Y. I  was born somewhere in between the two, either the end of X or the beginning of Y, no one is able to decide the exact dates that define the generations. Either way, I sway between the two like a fish being pulled by the tide. As much as I love technology I despise it. As much as I want to be connected I want to disappear.

Is there anybody out there? What is all this for? What's the purpose? The last is the biggest question.

What am I doing all this for? Who am I? Do I have to pick who I want to be? Who cares where I ate at on the weekend?

The last couple of weeks my writing has been inconsistent. I have a backlog of cafes I need to write the reviews for and photos to edit. That shit is weighing me down. When did it stop being fun and start being a drag?

It's Bourdain's fault, that rat bastard. He's got it made. I want what he's got. The traveling and the eating with a big slice of culture in his face.

It was a slow and steady culmination of doing Bourdain-a-thons (watching back to back episodes of No Reservations horizontally on my couch wearing nothing but a T-shirt and my underwear, eating my shitty food while he tasted exotic things and got sloshed), reading my signed copy of Kitchen Confidential and meeting the bastard. Add my constant slutting around Sydney cafes and restaurants the last two months and the last straw of the Taste of Sydney Festival. But what could all this mean?

I've got all Bourdain things that I love on one hand, then all Sydney things which I also (should) love in the other. Shouldn't they all harmonise? Something hasn't been sitting right deep down in my gut, it didn't make sense. Like eating a dodgy meal which is sure to cause you pain later, it festers and churns.

It's what I've been thinking and feeling ever since I stepped foot on this massive island of ours called Australia, 22 years ago. There is no culture. There is no history. So without these two elements, what story are we trying to tell? I knew it back then as an eight year old and I know it now even better.

Food is history, food is culture, it's who we are, where we came from and where we are going.

The only story Taste of Sydney explicitly told me is how to cash in, how to pose like a real Sydney-sider and how desperate we are for something more real and tangible, for something authentic. This is the same story I've been told consistently in every Sydney cafe or restaurant I've dined in. The superficial transactions speak for themselves.

Kooky decor or random tid-bits collected from someones trash can and back yard garage sale? Voila. We have a new theme for a cafe!

Sydney and in fact Australia is asking for anything as long as it has some sort of story or even abstract interest, just to get away from our every day monotony and instead get the opportunity to be sophisticated and cultured and shit.

That's why I'm over it. I've been trolling through the multitude of food blogs out there and every fucker and his dog is a food critic. But they're not telling me what I really want to hear.

I'm putting this down and hope that you pick it up: I'm not a food critic, I don't know the French names or techniques for food. That's what the chefs are for. I just know what I like and what resonates with me deep down in my soul.

Who I am is a Greek raised on farms and living the urban life for a while now. I'm a citizen of the world, taking in different cultures and wanting to find out more. I'm looking to make connections between how I was raised and what my culture and family is about, with how I live my life today. This is a declaration damn it. That's what I want to share with you reading this right now. I want to tell you my story and hopefully help you build your own.

Like any true philosophizing Greek and my forefathers before me, I want to know what the meaning is. I want to search the deep recesses and figure out how we got here in the first place.

I said Australia has no culture or history. The reality is, it has almost if not all the cultures in the world living under one roof. What an awesome collective?! It's evident in the faces of its inhabitants, in the cuisines they dish out and the themes and ideas they prop up. We are truly spoilt for choice and opportunity and perhaps smaller collectives like Melbourne and Adelaide are becoming so successful at it (the authentic food thing) because they are able to stay true to this vision of sharing their experiences authentically. Luckily Sydney is catching up, especially with cool and fun initiatives or groups like 6 Degrees of Preparation.

This is our time, where we the invaders bring our influences and traditions and create a mish-mash for this, our new world. It's us creating out own story. This is our time of making history or at least understanding it.

So this is my vow. No more boring posts of "this is a cafe I ate at and the service was good and the coffee tasty". Fuck that boring shit, let Simon Food Favorites wade through that dredge. It's time we took it up a notch and explored ideas and what that cafe really means, what lies underneath the surface, find out what the real story is. It's time to reinvent myself and this blog. Its time to start a conversation with some real people.

Existential crisis number two complete for this year and it's only March. Stay tuned.

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