lørdag 21. september 2013

Enjoying One’s Otium

Laura and I began the day with a swim in the “Mare Nostrum” (i.e. Our Sea, the Mediterranean) in Acciaroli. Temp in the sea: 22 C. We contemplated the implications of enjoying one’s otium, which not only relates to retirement, but also to leisure time when you can enjoy eating, playing, resting, contemplation and academic endeavors. And we were currently engaged in all of the above.

Our quest on this fine day was –with the notorious Giustino as our eminent cicerone– to visit the living Museum of  Mediterranean Diet in Pioppi – and also to find the statue of the Greek philosopher Parmenides (5th c BC), founder of the School of Elea, a pre-Socratic school of philosophy in the early fifth century BC. Elea (now Velia) was a former Greek colony not far from Acciaroli.This is useful knowledge for pilgrims such as us, for we discovered a connection between the philosophy of Mediterranean Diet and that of Parmenides.

Stein and Giustino in front of the Museum of the Mediterranean Diet
The American dietician and  doctor Ancel Keys (1904-2004!) was largely responsible for  the renaissance of the Mediterranean Diet, a  concept which introduced a more healthy fare for many since the late 20th century. His book “How to Eat Well and Stay Well the Mediterranean Way” (1975) was a milestone in the consciousness-raising campaign for a more healthy diet for millions. Keyes had his second home in the village of Pioppi where we found the above mentioned museum. It turned out that Keyes was influenced by the heritage from Ancient Greece and the philosophy of Parmenides, a philosophy that points out the need for Harmony between Man and Nature.

The living Museum of the Mediterranean Diet in Pioppi is the historical, scientific and cultural center of the Mediterranean Diet, it was worth the visit. We learnt that the Dieta Mediterranea was added to UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.

Our next destination was the statue of Parmenides, whose location we were somewhat unsure of. But thanks to Giustino, our unstoppable chauffeur, we eventually found our Greek philosopher. A fine reward – and useful preparation for our visit to the ancient city of Velia the following day. Velia was namely the home of Parmenides and other philosophers.

But let’s not get too philosophical. On the more down to earth level - we enjoyed the ever so tangible cultural heritage of the Mediterranean cuisine when Marisa prepared and served delicious dishes with Neapolitan finesse and grace.

Aspects of Acciaroli and Pioppi