Entry Title: "Kitchen Stories from The Balkan"
Name: Eugenia Maximova , Bulgaria
Category and Expertise: Photo Essay and Feature Story|Still Life|Deeper Perspective, Non-Professional


Entry Description: The kitchen room is not only the soul and spirit of the Balkan home it is also the exact mirror image of the modern Balkan society. The kitchen impeccably depicts the crossroad position of the, so-called, Balkan countries and conveys the highly perceptible sense of lost identity in the region – an inevitable legacy of the 500 years of Ottoman yoke and another almost 50 years of isolation and captivity behind the iron curtain. There is neither time nor money for “creative” decoration in most of the Balkan homes. In many of those domiciles time seems to stay still.

Story: The term “Balkan kitchen” is a popular generalization, widely spread all over the world. However, this name is as controversial as are the indications “Balkans”, “Balkan nations”, etc. Despite its controversy, it is being continually used to describe the culinary resemblance of a specific geographical region. Initially set as a geographical term, the Balkans concept gained strong cultural and sociological connotations over the years. In many societies the kitchen room is the most important place in a house. People often consider it as the heart and soul of their homes. The kitchen room is not only the soul and spirit of the Balkan home it is also the exact mirror image of the modern Balkan society. The kitchen impeccably depicts the crossroad position of the, so-called, Balkan countries and conveys the highly perceptible sense of lost identity in the region – an inevitable legacy of the 500 years of Ottoman yoke and another almost 50 years of isolation and captivity behind the iron curtain. There is neither time nor money (but it also lacks on spirit) for “creative” decoration in most of the Balkan homes. Many young families are either forced to live in rented properties (where the rental fee is often higher than an average monthly salary) or live packed like sardines in their parents' flats- usually located in hopelessly ugly, non-renovated concrete buildings – an omnipresent heritage from the communist era. In many of those domiciles time seems to stay still.

About the Artist: