The Foods of the Greek Islands: Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean
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Stretching from the shores of Turkey to the Ionian Sea east of Italy, the Greek islands have been the crossroads of the Mediterranean since the time of Homer. Over the centuries, Phoenicians, Athenians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Ottoman Turks, and Italians have ruled the islands, putting their distinctive stamp on the food.
Aglaia Kremezi, a frequent contributor to GOURMET and an international authority on Greek food, spent the past eight years collecting the fresh, uncomplicated recipes of the local women, as well as of fishermen, bakers, and farmers. Like all Mediterranean food, these dishes are light and healthful, simple but never plain, and make extensive use of seasonal produce, fresh herbs, and fish. Passed from generation to generation by word of mouth, most have never before been written down. All translate easily to the American home kitchen: Tomato Patties from Santorini; Spaghetti with Lobster from Kithira; Braised Lamb with Artichokes from Chios; Greens and Potato Stew from Crete; Spinach, Leek, and Fennel Pie from Skopelos; Rolled Baklava from Kos.
Illustrated throughout with color photographs of the islanders preparing their specialties and filled with stories of island history and customs, THE FOODS OF THE GREEK ISLANDS is for all cooks and travelers who want to experience this diverse and deeply rooted cuisine firsthand.
The food of the Greek Islands, which stretch from the Turkish shore to the eastern Ionian Sea, is simple but packed with flavor. Aglaia Kremezi has gathered over 150 recipes from these ancient, sunny lands and presented them with fascinating historical and cultural notes in The Foods of the Greek Islands, a landmark collection. The dishes she offers, such as Spaghetti with Lobster Sauce, Meatballs with Rice and Herbs in Lemon Broth, and Baked Mixed Vegetables, are as easy to prepare as they are wonderful to eat. Readers long hoping to find authentic recipes for the best Greek cooking, and those who enjoy fine Mediterranean food, should hail the book.
Beginning with island-by-island food profiles, the book then offers sections on meze, the famed small-dish appetizers; pitas and pies; entrees; seasonal salads; bread; and desserts. Welcome attention is also given to beans, rice, bulgur, and pastas, and dishes such as White Bean Soup with Wild Celery and Lemon, Bulgur with Chicken Liver and Currants, and Penne with Olive Oil and Toasted Cheese should become everyday and special-occasion household favorites. Bread and dessert recipes are equally satisfying: Kremezi's Olive and Mint Bread and Saffron, Allspice, and Pepper Biscuits, among others, will please bakers amateur and pro, while the sweets, based on honey, fruits, nuts, and cheese, are similarly tempting. Illustrated with color photos, and with a comprehensive ingredient glossary, the book is a window on cooking few of us could enjoy until its much appreciated arrival. --Arthur Boehm
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