on November 9, 2005
If you are one of those cookbook collectors that enjoy the glossy, amusing cookbooks written by glossy, amusing TV personalities that are either "barefoot" or "naked", then this book is NOT for you. This book has no pictures, no glossy pages, and no stories of how the chef found a rare pepper plant on a recent excursion to Machu Picchu, Peru. This book is a compilation of recipes by a "group of women from Saint Paul's Church." Some recipes may be authentic and traditional; some may be completely made up; who knows and who cares is what I say.
The recipes are good. The directions are easy. And the ingredients are available to most of us that don't live beyond the reach of the Interstate (let alone the Internet!)
Here are some of the 250+ recipes in this book:
Souzoukakia (10-points if you can say that ten times fast)
Stuffed grape leaves (yes!!)
Whole baby lamb
Meatball avgolemono soup
Shish kebab (Mmmmmm)
12 different breads!
Greek coffee (whoa, I'm awake now!)
Iced kourabiedes (cookies)
And my personal favorite....
Loukoumades (if you haven't had one - or a dozen - then you are missing out!)
I highly recommend this book as an addition to your cookbook collection. You will find it to be one of your favorites.
on February 5, 2011
I bought this cookbook in an attempt to replace my mother's Greek cookbook put out by the ladies of our local Greek Orthodox church (titled "Our Kouzina") that someone actually stole from me over 20 years ago! It doesn't quite work as a replacement, the stolen cookbook was twice as thick, and more thorough, offering many variations on the same recipe, depending upon what part of Greece the recipe writer may have came from. Having said that, this is the closest I have found to my mom's St. Andrew's version. I actually lost my first copy of this book as well and bought it again on Amazon. My father, who is from the Kyklathes group of Greek islands, taught me to cook Greek food and cook in general and would think it preposterous for me to even buy a Greek cookbook (sorry Dad!) My aunts and uncles all have their own specialties and I've learned those as well, but I can only keep so many recipes/measurements in my head, hence the need for a basic cookbook to use as reference.
Not every Greek recipe I grew up with or make on a regular basis, is in this book, but the recipes that are in the book are fairly standard and taste pretty authentic. One exception I've found so far, is the recipe for pastitsio, and that could be a regional difference or just the way MY uncle makes it, so if you like your pastitsio in a square block (I do not), you won't mind. If you are using this as a reference book, you'll know how to tweak the recipes so they are like your yia yia's, I'm sure. The lack of pictures isn't an issue for me, but I realize it may be an issue for the novice to Greek food. To those of you who feel you need pictures, I would say you really don't, make the recipe once and you'll know what it looks like. Ok, I'm teasing there, but honestly Greek food is comfort food and is not so complex that you will be lost without a glossy picture of the completed recipe, trust me. There ARE illustrations for recipes that need them. On the negative side, it would be nice to be able to look up all the recipes by their Greek names in a straightforward manner, though. For example if you want to make Loukamathes, you won't find it in the index, unless you look up fritters, or Diples unless you look up honey rolls. That may not be an issue for some people, but I've never heard of these foods referred to in English and it's just a wee bit annoying to have to figure out what a recipe might possibly be called in English in order to find it quickly. Also on the negative, the section on working with phyllo dough is incomplete, but that may be because I was taught differently, either way I go with how I was taught. If there were 1/2 stars, I'd probably rate this 4 1/2 stars for those two things, but I'm giving it 5 rather than 4 stars, because I know I'm a tiny bit on the picky side.
I do think that if you are new to Greek cooking, this is a good primer, the recipes are uncomplicated, as they should be. If you are a complete novice to cooking period, you will be happy to find many simple recipes that you can make and be edible at the same time. Most of the ingredients, with the exception of some of the cheeses will be found in any supermarket. Greek oregano can sometimes be hard to find, I don't know why, a lot of stores only carry regular oregano and not both. Make sure you buy the Greek variety, or even better, grow some in a hanging basket in your kitchen window, it smells and looks great and is very easy to grow. If you are vegetarian, lactose intolerant or health/heart conscious, there are a lot of lenten (without meat or dairy) recipes for you to enjoy, two of my favorites are fasoulatha (navy bean soup) and faki (extremely tasty lentil soup.) If you are cooking on a tight budget, there are lots of inexpensive, yet flavorful recipes in this book (you can eat cheaply AND eat healthy unprocessed food.) Every year ravani (farina cake) was my go-to recipe for my daughter's school bake sales/class parties, everyone loved it, and it will feed 30+ people on the cheap. Lastly, If you grew up eating Greek food or are an old hand at cooking Greek food, but have just forgotten a few things here and there, I think you'll be happy with this collection of recipes as well.
on March 22, 2001
If this is an updated version of the book my mother used, I am ecstatic. I have been searching for one for years. In my family it is considered the "bible" of cookbooks. My mother used no other. My brother and I fought for possession of it when she passed away. It has been passed back and forth between us for holiday recipes, guidance, etc. Now we can each have our new one. I will always keep my mother's original (she referenced everything with a turned down page), but it will be nice not to have to worry about losing a leaf anymore. Thank you
on October 22, 2003
As a Greek-American who learned how to cook by watching her mother and grandmother lovingly prepare all sorts of traditional Greek dishes in the comfort of our "kouzina", I've always been a bit skeptical about using Greek cookbooks since the recipes either never turn out or just taste a lot different than what I am used to. This cookbook, however, changed my mind as I have found most of the dishes to be delicious successes that are faithful to traditional tastes. This should come as no surprise, of course, since the book was compiled by real Greeks (most of whom are moms and yiayias no doubt) whose families have probably handed down and improved upon those recipes generation after generation. Overall, most work out well and are fairly basic Greek dishes (I've only had trouble with one or two) and are perfect for either everyday family meals or for guests. Well done St. Paul's!
on July 11, 2006
My ONLY souce of the best Greek cooking was Hellenic Cuisine from the 1970's. This book is excellent and is just like having your "yiayia" cooking for you and telling you how to prepare these delicacies. The ingredients are authentic and the prep time is right on the money. As everyone knows Greek cooking takes time, patience and lots of butter, olive oil, filo, feta and olives not to mention basil, oregano and garlic. Get your ingredients and have a ball. This cook book is the BEST out there for authenticity.
on May 1, 2016
This paperback Greek cookbook is reliable, and well-organized; has recipe titles in both the Greek name and in English, and has traditional recipes with mostly USA available products (or a USA alternative). These recipes are from-scratch cooking and made with nonchemical, natural products. Readers comment that the recipes are healthy-but this person disagrees. Flavorful, yes, but the recipes are filled with butter or olive oil, honey, nuts, phyllo, and cheeses, so they are not typically low calorie, low fat, or low sugar. There are appetizer, meat, dessert, and vegetable recipes. No photos, but some attractive, explanatory drawings are included. It is a plus that these traditional recipes come from different regions of Greece, plus this cookbook is educational. As a good classic, this cookbook is fully recommended at 4.5 stars. Thank you, Recipe Club of St. Paul's Church!