Monday, July 23, 2012

Low Sodium Greek Food Festival - Intro

As most of you know, I’m Greek, but I’ve never been to Greece. My father grew up on the island of Kalymnos, and, although my mother was born in Oklahoma, her parents came from a small Greek village near Turkey. I grew up surrounded by Greek family and friends, but I never traveled to Greece myself.

Enter my friend Johanna from Low Sodium Blog.  She’s done a lot of traveling, including a recent trip to Greece. Johanna has a wonderful blog that perfectly blends low sodium cooking, her love of food in general, and travel.

She contacted me a few months ago about collaborating on a series featuring Greece and low sodium Greek food. The idea would be “…to mix up grilling, cooking, and travel!”  Well, it’s time to start this online Greek Food Festival. The fun will include low sodium Greek recipes, travel reports with extraordinary pictures, and a great Greek Food Giveaway! This Greek extravaganza will run for the next few weeks, so be sure to check back here often. Also, be sure to check out Johanna’s blog for more details, more great recipes, and the wonderful Greek travelogues and photos. Please join us as we celebrate a low sodium Greek Food Festival. Kali orexi!

Johanna & Jordan in Greece
Here’s Johanna’s story:

We started Low Sodium Blog because we wanted to find a way to share our love for life, travel, and food with our friends and family (or anyone else looking for a little inspiration).  Like Sue, I'm a “voluntary” low-sodium convert – I'm the care-giving family member and not the diagnosis recipient. This year, my family marked our fourth year of low sodium living. 

You see – my husband, Jeff, has coronary artery disease (he was rushed into emergency after collapsing on the floor while undergoing a cardiac stress test) and my mom, Patricia, received (live-donation from her sister) a kidney transplant after spending years on dialysis.  Initially, it was a heartbreaking scenario. As my family's health fell like dominoes, their rugs were ripped out from underneath their culinary lives.  Mostly still in shock, I initially stood by and watched as they were stripped of the meals that they loved (because all of our "traditional" recipes were dependent upon using salt as a flavor enhancer or stabilizer).   Like many families, we initially tried to cook separate meals; however we soon realized that this dual meal strategy ate up too much time and energy.  Often, lack of time and/or resources forces people to innovate – and in retrospect, change is not a bad thing. We get inspired. We pull from the depths of our creativity.  We learn something new from success or from failure. We grow our knowledge base. We feel empowered.

For me, life is very much like travel – sometimes I travel solo, other times, I travel with family or friends. Sometimes the process works, and other times (much like travel), the journey (or train) takes a side turn (or breaks down).  In these more difficult instances, I am forced to persevere until I find a resting spot where I can safely settle down for the night. I generally don't rest until I am satisfied that I've found a "good spot"–  I scout out high ground and I mark a place where I can stumble to in the twilight: this becomes my vantage point for the next day.  And then I rest.

After a few hours, while it’s still dark outside, I drag myself out of bed (no matter how terrible the prior day was or how tired I am) and I head to higher ground.  I nest into my chosen spot and I wait.  As the dawn slowly emerges, it paints a brilliant canvas across the sky – leaving behind a hundred hues of pink, purple, and periwinkle.  The glow from the rising sun creeps across the horizon.  For me, it is in this very moment of the sunrise where all of my trials and tribulations from the prior day are washed away.  The new dawn symbolizes renewal and in turn, a new adventure.  Our blog chronicles many of our adventures – food, travel, and a few slices of life.  We invite you to hop aboard, it's all one big fun adventure...and we welcome you to Greece.

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