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The Essential Mediterranean: How Regional Cooks Transform Key Ingredients into the World's Favorite Cuisines Hardcover – March 18, 2003
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"Food," Jenkins writes, "is present in Mediterranean cultures in a way it's not in our own ... the way it's grown and harvested, the way it's prepared, what's in season and out...." The Essential Mediterranean brings that same sensibility, or at least its potential, into the North American kitchen and home. These are fabulous flavors, she reminds the reader, simple foods, with health benefits suited to life in a spa. And, they are easy to include in our daily fare. It's a matter of understanding the key ingredients, as though they are building blocks. "A recipe," Jenkins notes, "is a formula.... Cooking, on the other hand, is a strategy...." This is a book to read, and then to taste, with dozens of classic, delicious recipes. By the time you finish The Essential Mediterranean, you will not only be a better Mediterranean cook, you will know why. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
More About the Author
Nancy spends half the year on a rustic farm in the hills outside Cortona, Tuscany, where she makes extra-virgin olive oil from a small orchard she planted; the rest of the time she lives in an enchanting village on the coast of Maine where she was born. In both places she spends a lot of time in the kitchen, playing with food, studying the results, and creating dishes to seduce friends and family. She has never regretted giving up a career as an Egyptologist to focus on food.
Top Customer Reviews
Each of these writers gives us a slightly different perspective on the same subject, so they rarely overlap in their general essays on the Mediterranean. Roden is the historian, Wolfert is the ethnologist, and Wright is the taxonomist. Jenkins' role seems to be the dietitian and synthesist, explaining what it is that makes Mediterranean cuisine distinctive and, in other works, what makes it as healthy as it appears in demographic studies of peoples and diets.
Of all the works I have read by these authors, this book is the most interesting to people interested in history and current events, but with only an average interest in cooking. The primary object of the book is to identify those foodstuffs that are central to the Mediterranean diet, and how they achieved that status. The main characters in this story are salt, olives, wheat and its products, wine and vinegar, legumes, peppers (chiles), tomatoes, pork, seafood, and milk (giving cheese and yogurt).
The first item, salt, may seem unexciting since every culture has used and valued salt. But, salt has played a larger role in Mediterranean history than in other cultures because the Mediterranean Sea happens to be a lot saltier than the broader `seven seas'. This means that it is a lot easier to harvest sea salt, which means that salt preserved foods become much more common. A perfect example of how simple things can make enormous differences.Read more ›
This book is always handy in my kitchen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was most disappointed. Although it is beautifully written, and the food sounds incredible finding the exotic ingredients that are called for would be close to impossible. Read morePublished 16 months ago by LiterateMuse
I bought this book because I've been looking for Mediterranean recipes. I bought another, and ran into the same problem -- few recipes, lots of print. Read morePublished on December 18, 2013 by mmead