Des membres du Comité scientifique de l’Ocha, des chercheurs en sciences humaines, des professionnels de santé, des amis, rendent hommage à Matty Chiva.
Last Friday, in Toulouse, Jean-Pierre Poulain told me that Matty Chiva had passed away in his sleep three weeks earlier. I was touched and slightly out of breath. I had first met Matty Chiva only last September at Congrilait in Paris. Never having seen him before, I imagined he might look like the mighty god “Shiva”. He smiled and informed me the “Ch” was pronounced “K”, as in Italian. We chatted about sugar and deviant behavior and he explained that the only thing wrong with sugar is that it causes cavities.
After repeated scheduling changes, we met again on February 20 at “La Coupole”, his café of choice, where he told me of his beginnings in Romania, Italy and the events he survived during the war. He knew the bitterness of life and chose the sweeter side. In spite, or perhaps because of his beginnings, this little Jewish man was full of wonder, excitement, curiosity and, most of all, generosity.
We spoke for about two hours and I couldn’t help projecting on him the image of the benevolent father that I, and many other people, would have liked to have had. He graciously commented on an article I’d written which I’d sent him. I thanked him then and we parted with a mutual pleasure at the prospect of meeting again in the Jura or Dijon. The writing of this paragraph is not the way I’d imagined our brief relationship to end.
Alex Miles, Professeur de Langues et Cultures à l’ESC Dijon et d’Histoire et Sociologie de l’Alimentation à ENSBANA.