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The Foods of the Greek Islands: Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean Hardcover – November 14, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

The Julia Child Award-winning author of The Foods of Greece returns with an equally engaging, personal take on the foods of Greece's many islandsDeach very different from the othersDstretching from Turkey to the Ionian Sea. Like Marcella Hazan, Kremezi has an informed and authentic voice that is gentle enough for beginners, and though her anecdotes and folklore add an inviting context and charm to this cookbook, it's the enticing recipes themselves that make it so winning. Lemons and legumes feature prominently in Greek-island cooking, as does seafood. Among the array of "uncomplicated" yet "sophisticated" dishes Kremezi features are Terrine of Fish with Leeks, Orange and Lemon and Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Herbs, Walnuts and Pomegranates. One might expect Baked Chickpea and Lamb Stew from Greece, but Pork with Cabbage made with tomatoes, red wine, and cinnamon clearly reflects a multicultural influence. An entire chapter on savory pies could almost stand alone with such tempting offerings as Finger-Sized Fried Green Pies, and another on breads includes Savory Cheese and Mint Muffins. Desserts that make excellent use of fresh fruit include Baked Apples with Dried Figs and Almonds in Sweet Wine Syrup and Cherry Spoon-Sweet Preserves. Kremezi consulted on the menu for New York's premier Greek restaurant, Molyvos, and a dozen or so of the restaurant's recipes are included in this standout volume. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2nd Printing edition (November 14, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395982111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395982112
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

AGLAIA KREMEZI was born in Athens where she lived and worked as a photographer, journalist and editor before devoting her time entirely to food writing, cooking, and studying the history of the cuisines of the Mediterranean.

Thirteen years ago she moved with her husband to Kea, an island of the Cyclades. She gardens, cooks, writes and teaches cooking to travelers at www.keartisanal.com .
She blogged at the Atlantic Monthly Food/Health site, and writes regularly in Greek, European and American publications: Saveur, LA Times, Gourmet, BBC Good Food magazine, Bonne Appetit, Food and Wine, Food Arts, epicurious.com, etc. She has been a guest lecturer at the Culinary Institute of America, in Greystone, Napa, and also taught at Macy's Degustibus, at the French Culinary Institute and many other US cooking schools.

She won the Julia Child award for her first book The Foods of Greece (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1993). Her upcoming book Vegetarian Mediterranean Feasts (STC/Abrams) is coming out in October 2014. Mediterranean Hot and Spicy (Broadway) is her latest book, while her best-selling The Cooking of the Greek Islands (Houghton Mifflin) will be re-launched in in paperback the spring of 2015.
She is a consultant at Zaytinya, Jose Andres' acclaimed Greek and Middle Eastern restaurant, in Washington DC.
Website/blog: www.aglaiakremezi.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I got this book as a Christmas present, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Aglaia Kremezi has always had the reputation of a gourmet cook, so I felt intimidated to try any of her recipes, because I thought they would be quite complicated and easy to fail for a home cook. Quite the contrary!! This is an excellent book, with very detailed descriptions and insightful information on original Greek dishes (as a Greek who just moved to the US from Greece, I can say that this is the REAL thing, very far from anything touristy or artificial).
All the dishes I have tried until now have been a success, and two are the main reasons: 1. The recipes have been adapted to the modern way of cooking 2. The ingredients have also been adapted so that one can find them outside of Greece without compromising in taste or authenticity. There is also a very helpful list of US sources for original Greek products.
I definitely recommend this book! It's one of the best cookbooks I own -- and trust me, I own many...
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Format: Hardcover
In this cookbook, Aglaia Kremezi not only compiles the best of the traditional recipes of the Greek islands, she also captures the essence of the islands themselves through well written, detailed, and interesting historical and geographical information.
This 298-page hardback begins with a comprehensive introduction to the islands of Greece. In addition to beautiful photographs, Kremezi provides a detailed description of each island and / or island group. The geography, history, and popular dishes are all highlighted, making the introduction alone a valuable reference tool.
The different types of food are divided among eight chapters; including appetizers, pitas and pies, seafood, meat, rice and pasta, vegetables, bread, and desserts. I really enjoyed the fact that each chapter is prefaced with additional reference information such as history, modern day adaptations, and substitutions for particular ingredients. In addition, background information is included with the recipes, which are not only delicious, but easy to prepare as well.
Another great feature of this cookbook is an A to Z glossary of Greek food terms. From Aleppo Pepper to Zante Currants, Kremezi clearly defines the traditional ingredients of the Greek islands. A Basic Preparations section offers recipes such as vegetable stock, tomato sauce, and yogurt that form the basis of many of the recipes offered. Most of the basic ingredients in this cookbook are readily available anywhere in the world, but Kremezi also offers substitutions for those ingredients that may be hard to find in your local grocery store. For ingredients that cannot be substituted, Kremezi provides a handy listing of Greek food suppliers from all over the country.
I highly recommend this cookbook not only because it is beautifully written, but also because the recipes are easy to prepare, flavorful, and truly capture the spirit of the Greek islands. In addition, the reference information included in this cookbook is superb.
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Format: Hardcover
My wife was born and raised in Athens, her mother was raised on the island of Kalymnos. This book was a trip down memory lane, with the bonus of including easy to follow recipes for some of the less well known but very tasty Greek foods. This book is an excellent read full of historical tidbits, beautiful photographs, and island lore. A very useful cookbook for anyone wanting a taste of the islands.
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Format: Hardcover
I wanted to make a special dinner for my boyfriend and chose a Greek theme, mainly using recipes from this book, inclduing Friend Zucchini and Cheese and Shrimp w/Tomato and Feta. The whole dinner was simple enough (and I am a novice cook) and the ingredients were easily available. There are also interesting tidbits for most of the recipes, making reading the cookbook as fun as cooking out of it. Best of all, the food was delicious, and he said it reminded him almost exactly of the food he ate during his trip to the Greek Islands last summer. I will definetly be turning to this cookbook again and again.
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Format: Hardcover
I ordered the book for my husband's father, his grandfather was from Greece. He loved it,the recipe's and the storie's about the foods and the people of the different islands.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is gorgeous, both in the sumptious photos and the stunning layout. The intro is fantastic with its summary of differences in cuisine between the mainland and the various islands, and the glossary in back is extremely helpful. Best of all is the food -- not a bad recipe so far and I've tried vegetables to meat to fish, appetizers to mains. This book has even made me like leafy greens. Braised corfu style, mustard greens and spinach turn out to taste as good as anything on the planet. Once that is, you get past the confusing directions. This book is not for beginning cooks. Even experienced cooks are likely to stumble. For instance, in the recipe for braised greens, the ingredients list calls for 2 large ripe tomatoes or 1 cup canned tomatoes with their juice or 1 cup water. Does this mean you can use fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes or water, or does it mean that if you use canned tomatoes you can use either the juice they come in or a cup of water? Ambiguities like this abound. Do you know which are the tender stalks on fennel? When making meatballs with rice and herbs in lemon broth, when the recipe says the chicken broth mixture should completely cover the meatballs, what do you do when it doesn't? If you've cooked before you can eventually figure these things out, but it's clear that while the author really knows how to cook, she didn't have a fresh set of eyes and hands try out the recipes. Still, don't be scared away. Everything in here is great. The food tastes fantastic, and the introduction to each dish that sets it in context is wonderful. It never would have ocurred to me to serve greens over polenta with currants and onions.Read more ›
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