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Little Foods of the Mediterranean: 500 Fabulous Recipes for Antipasti, Tapas, Hors D'Oeuvre, Meze, and More (Non) Paperback – September 26, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wright continues his exploration of the Mediterranean region (after Mediterranean Vegetables and A Mediterranean Feast) with this investigation of tapas, antipasti, meze and whatever else one might call small dishes that start a meal. The recipes-and there are a generous 500 included-are uniformly excellent, but sometimes Wright's commitment to authenticity leads to too much exotica (Curried Cucumber and Lamb Tongue Skewers, Vols-au-Vent Stuffed with Veal Sweetbreads and Black Truffles), with too little space dedicated to clever but more accessible tidbits such as Spinach with Garlic Yogurt on Fried Arabic Bread and Rolled Yogurt Balls. Numerous recipes, such as Tunisian Lamb, Brain, and Fried Potato Frittata with Cheeses and Baby Octopus in Piquant Sauce call for hard-to-locate ingredients. Chapters are organized by type of dish, with two chapters dedicated to fried foods: the one on fried turnovers opens with four recipes for briks (North African pastries). Another chapter on cheese-based foods (despite Wright's earlier insistence that cheese "is too rich and heavy" to make a good starter) includes Taleggio Cheese and Buckwheat Flour Fritters from Lombardy. Although Wright provides copious information in headnotes and sidebars, there is one integral thing lacking. A long list of menus for parties of various types and an introduction that details the history of eating small dishes before a larger meal are helpful, but there is no indication of how to figure portion sizes when serving items such as Pizza Margherita, Stockfish, Fava Bean, and Potato Stew from Liguria and Polenta with Porcini Mushrooms as entrees.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Clifford A. Wright won the James Beard/KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year award and the James Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food in 2000 for A Mediterranean Feast (William Morrow), which was also a finalist for the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Cookbook of the Year award that same year. He is the author of fourteen books, twelve of which are cookbooks. Wright's articles on food and cuisine have appeared in Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, and other magazines. He is a contributing editor to ZesterDaily.com. As an independent researcher, Wright wrote the food entries for Columbia University's Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and has published scholarly articles on food in peer-reviewed journals such as Al-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean, Food and Foodways, and Gastronomica. Wright has also lectured on food at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, Boston University, Georgetown University, Davidson College in North Carolina, Loyola Marymount University, South Dakota State University, University of California at Santa Barbara, and the Culinary Institute of America, among other institutions. As a cooking teacher, he has taught cooking classes at the Central Market cooking schools in Texas, the Rhode Island School of Design, Institute for Culinary Education in New York, Sur la Table, and other cooking schools around the United States. His website www.CliffordAWright.com is one of the most-visited sites for people interested in Mediterranean foods. In 2009 he launched the Venice Cooking School (www.VeniceCookingSchool.com) with Martha Rose Shulman in Los Angeles, California. He lives in Santa Monica, California.
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Product Details

  • Series: Non
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Common Press (September 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558322272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558322271
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #862,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Clifford A. Wright is a cook, food writer, and independent research scholar who won the James Beard/KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year award and the James Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food in 2000 for A Mediterranean Feast. His book A Mediterranean Feast was also a finalist for the cookbook of the year award given by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is the author of 16 books, fourteen of which are cookbooks, including his latest One-Pot Wonders. Colman Andrews, former editor of Saveur magazine called Wright 'the reigning English-speaking expert on the cuisines and culinary culture of the Mediterranean--the real Mediterranean, the whole Mediterranean.' Clifford writes regularly for Saveur, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Fine Cooking, and Food and Wine and wrote all the food entries for Columbia University's Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and the entry for tiramisu and other sweets in the Oxford Companion to Sweets. Clifford has also lectured on food at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University, Georgetown University, and the Culinary Institute of America among other universities and venues. As a cooking teacher he has taught cooking classes at the Rhode Island School of Design, Sur la Table, Central Market in Texas and other cooking schools around the United States and Italy.
Before writing about food, Clifford was a foreign policy researcher at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., a Staff Fellow at the Institute of Arab Studies, Belmont, MA, the Executive Director of the American Middle East Peace Research Institute, Cambridge, MA and the publisher of Raising Kids, a child development newsletter for parents. He was written two books on the politics and history in the Middle East.
You can visit him at www.cliffordawright.com and his blog www.Cook-Coquus.com and read his food writing at www.zesterdaily.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Clifford Wright is one of the leading writers, along with Elizabeth David, Paula Wolfert and Claudia Roden, on the cuisines of the Mediterranian. This volume complements his monumental, award winning `A Mediterranean Feast' and is, I believe, as accessable, entertaining, and useable as food writing can get.
I confess that this type of writing by a culinary scholar / journalist writing about regional cuisines of the past and present is just about my favorite kind of food writing. Aside from the fact that these people are typically better writers than chefs, I believe this content has a cachet about it similar to what people say of antiques. What has survived from the past is generally better than what is produced today because there is so much more historical product than there is of contemporary product. Things typically survive because they are good.
Wright's book fits this expectation to a tee. For $22 list price, one gets over 500 recipes from all around the Mediterranean. This collection is so good, one could easily retire your Martha Stewart and Ina Garten books on appetizer menus and have this take their place.
In spite of the superficial similarity in the various small dishes in the book, there is a significant difference between antipasti and hors d'oeuvres, which accompany a large meal, tapas, which often consist of a meal in themselves to accompany afternoon drinking and conversation, and meze, which, in several countries comprise a large meal in itself, based on a lot of little dishes. There are family resemblences between the various little dish cuisines of the Mediterranean but, except for the presence of olives and olive oil, there is probably no common heritage to which all can be traced. Meze dishes can be traced to Arab cuisine.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Lucas on September 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very extensive with a mind boggling amount of recipes. The author obviously spent many months, probably even years researching. It is better for the more advanced cook. Many of the recipes are complicated, or call for ingredients that a beginner like me just isn't familiar with. There are still many that are simpler and some that you can adapt to easier methods. If you are interested in this style of foods, it will help you to learn the flavor combinations, inspiring you to create your own (simpler, if need be) recipes. I also wish there were more pictures, there is only a small section at the front with a handful of recipes illustrated. This might help clarify some of the recipes that seem too complicated to the less experienced cook.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Marty Martindale on March 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Little Foods of the Mediterranean:

500 Fabulous Recipes for Antipasti, Tapas,

Hors d'oeuvre, Meze and More

By Clifford A. Wright

Author of A Mediterranean Feast

This is an important food book written by a distinguished research scholar, cook and food writer. Wright makes you feel as if you are on-location in the friendly sunny Med when he teaches you why the foods are available, then how the folks there make little snacks with the fresh foods. Wright gives intense scrutiny to all his projects, so much so he dedicated this 514-page book to his youngest son, "who wondered when we would again eat `big' food."

Here are some of the foods, recipes and color the book is chock full of:

One of Wright's many indexes, "Cheesy Mouthfuls," contains such muchies as Spanish Baked Cheese Marbles, Gruyere Half-Moons, his favorite, Saganaki and an item he calls Provolone and Mortadella Bombs. He feels Saganaki with a squirt of lemon and a glass of oouzo aside the Ionian Sea is pretty close to what a heaven must be.

Under "Frittatas and Other Eggy Delights," he borrows dishes from Andalusia, Cordoba, Tunisia and Egypt, noting there are only four countries where Frittatas are eaten: Italy, Spain, Algeria and Tunisia. One eye-catcher is Poached Eggs in Garlicky Yogurt.

The "Saucy Little Dishes" parts are meant to open the appetite and satisfy the soul. These little dishes, little foods, are ever-popular and Wright keeps changing his mind about his favorite, probably most. Try Pork and Pine Nut Meatballs in Romesco Sauce, Carp Croquettes in Walnut Sauce in the style of the Greek Jews. How about Fresh Anchovy in Orange Sauce.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
In Little Foods Of The Mediterranean, culinary expert Clifford A. Wright pre-sents and showcases 500 mouth-watering recipes for appetizers and bite-sized servings of all kind, from the rich and diverse culinary tradition of the Mediterranean. Recipes for stuffed vegetables, filled pastries, fried tidbits, kebabs, dips, and many more types of nibble-worthy delights are presented along with fascinating asides about Mediterranean cooking, foods, history, and lore. Little Foods Of The Mediterranean is a magnificent resource -- especially for dishing up morsels to enjoy for ordinary family dining and at special holiday celebrations.
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The recipes in this book look delicious. However, it is not something you can make in 30 minutes or less if you're a busy student. This is a book best for professional gourmet cooks (or those with A LOT of time on their hands who like a challenge). Many of the recipes call for main ingredients that are difficult to find (I live in NYC and even I had trouble tracking them down, probably b/c I haven't heard of them before) or they are EXTREMELY expensive.

I also found the organization and contents difficult to follow (for instance, instead of being organized by "fish, grains, veggies, meat, etc" they table of contents goes by "saucy little dishes; salads and other cold vegetable dishes; seafood salads and platters; fried tidbits; rolls-ups and wraps", etc.) It's hard to follow, and not just because of the near-lack of pictures. Once again, if you're an advanced cook, you probably don't need pictures; as for the rest of us.....

What you will love about this book if you ARE an advanced gourmet cook is that the author scribbles little informative histories of the foods and regions in the margins. Also, he clearly knows his French (AN OVERWHELMING amount of French terms, and other foreign food words that further complicate just the process of reading the recipes; although it IS fascinating and he explains their origins, etc).

This is not a cookbook you can quickly scan for a 25minute recipe after work. If you enjoy spending lots of time with you cookbooks, get it! If not, I recommend this book instead: 500 Mediterranean Dishes (500 Cooking Series). 500 Mediterranean Dishes (500 Cooking Series (Sellers)) (500 Cooking (Sellers))
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