The Melting Pot of Αustralian food
One Australian website looks to preserve traditional Greek recipes
It took a native New Yorker to come to Australia and do his utmost to preserve and collate familial recipes through his website The Melting Pot.
The Melting Pot is an innovative food project that lets anyone join Australia's diverse, multicultural cooks share mutual heritages via food.
"It's for under the radar cooks - from local eateries to home cooks - to share their heritage through culture and food," explains Michael Shafran.
He said the goal of The Melting Pot is to "preserve family heirloom recipes that [they] may have been enjoying at home that no one else knows about.
"When you talk to people about their grandmother's recipes, I hear so many people say my grandmother was such a great cook but she passed on and they didn't' learn how to make what she makes and so it's a chance to preserve those family traditions and also a way to celebrate them and highlight them."
Each month, The Melting Pot highlights a cuisine or a dish for everyone to get involved in: this month it is 'soups'. Michael is urging all readers of Neos Kosmos to provide their family recipe for avgolemono.
Through the website, Michael says he not only represents the beautiful and distinct regional cuisines of Greece, but with each recipe, people get a chance to tell their own personal food story which is fundamental to the Australian story in itself.
"There are also some great stories about how people's parents and grandparents came to Australia," says Michael.
"One woman was talking about how she had her pan for Greek mountain bread that she carried over the mountains in Greece, bought it on the boat all the way to Australia and is still cooking with it - I love stories like that," he says enthused.
Michael says it gives people that aren't from the Greek community a chance to hear about migrant food stories, learn about regional distinctions in Greek cuisine and ultimately be able to create what Greek Australian's cook at home, which he believes is unique to what is on offer in Greek restaurants.
As it stands, The Melting Pot is in partnership with Murdock Books, so Michael is hoping in a year to print a cookbook that shares some of the new Australian food that is on offer. They will also be launching an e-book, that will be based around all the different cultures in Australia and are looking at developing a Greek e-cookbook.
"Australian food is changing a lot," says Michael the native New Yorker who draws similarities between American and Australian food in the sense that it is influenced by all the different cultures that make up the countries.
"These cultures come to Australia and they get to have different produce and fresher produce and they are also mixing with other cultures as well, so some things stay very traditional and other food gets changed in a way that makes them beautiful in their own way - it's a moving target."
Michael adds that as a nation, the food Australia is eating is very different to where it was 20 odd years ago. Gone are the days that people would think that the meat pie was traditional Australian fare - now it's replaced with lamb yiros, pad thai and dim sum.
"Australia as a country has become far more adventurous with food, Australia is a very open place for trying new things and sharing dishes between different cultures."
To submit your recipe or view other people's family fare visit www.themeltingpot.com.au
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