With Greeks in their third year of austerity living, the signs are that their belts are going to get even tighter. The new budget includes pay cuts, tax rises and part-time working.
In real terms, Greeks have already seen their standard of living deteriorate – and it is hitting food too.
“Things are tight,” said one shopper in an Athens market. “You really have to watch the pennies. Something that was 1.20 euro or 1.80 costs double now. It depends on how much money your family has.”
The crisis is recalling the toughest times Greece has experienced. A new book called “Starvation Recipes: Life in Athens under Nazi Occupation” is already on its second print-run.
The World War Two advice includes chewing more slowly to trick stomachs into thinking there is more food, and to collect crumbs from the table.
The author, historian Eleni Nikolaidou, said: “Survival guides managed to save the Athenians during that time, so I imagine they’ll also help now, especially the very poor and working class who have problems with their money.”
Even one young celebrity TV chef is addressing the subject of survival cooking. But F.T. Bletsas says going for cheap processed foods is not the answer. He believes Greeks should re-learn how to spend less but eat better.
“All the stores are full of food but people cannot afford (it),” he said. “So they need to spend their money more wisely. Eat some foods that people during the German (occupation) used to eat, like more beans and more whole grains.”
But it is not the only sign of things going bad. A new report says 60,000 businesses closed over the last two years.
The president of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce, which compiled the report, is furious.
Vasilis Korkidis told a news conference: “The report will be translated and sent to the troika so they can see the results of their inspiration — or, in other words, so they can see what they have done to us. The other day, Mrs Merkel defined the euro currency crisis as a marathon. In the case of the Greek debt, they have made us run as many as six marathons already”
According to the same report 2012 will be even worse, predicting a further 60,000 business closures next year alone.