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The Glorious Foods of Greece: Traditional Recipes from the Islands, Cities, and Villages Hardcover – April 10, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Moussaka, grilled fish, and feta salad with olives--that's it for Greek food, right? Wrong, as abundantly proved by Diane Kochilas's masterful The Glorious Foods of Greece. For over 10 years, Kochilas investigated the vast wealth of Greek cooking, traveling to its islands, cities, mountains, and villages and talking to cooks, bakers, fisherman, farmers, and cheese makers. She listened astutely, and the result is not only hundreds of authentic recipes, but a definitive culinary guide.

Following an introduction in which Kochilas details, among other fascinating information, the nature of each region's cuisine (Rooumali and Epirus are shepherds' domains, she writes, "where the reigning food is pita, as in savory pie, hundreds of them...."), she then offers chapter-by-chapter observations with straightforward recipes. These range from mezze (appetizers) and soups to breads, main dishes, sweets, and drinks. From the olive country of Peloponnesus, for example, readers are offered the likes of Roast Leg of Lamb with Wine, Garlic, Allspice, and Cheese. The Italian-influenced Ionian islands provide Chicken Stewed in Fragrant Tomato Sauce with Thick Pasta, among other dishes. Snd from Macedonia and Thrace come such fare as Roasted Potato Salad with Hot Pepper and Mint, and Leek and Yogurt Pie.

Throughout, Kochilas also provides interesting sidebars (The Sardines of Lesvos, for example, profiles this local treasure known for its sweetness), ingredient sketches, and preparation suggestions. A section that explores cooking techniques and a useful source list concludes the book, which is a tribute to a widely undiscovered cuisine and the author's steady yet exuberant powers of investigation. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

With this massive and masterful collection, Kochilas (an American with Greek roots who works in Athens as a food reporter for a Greek newspaper) brings Greek cooking front and center in American kitchens. Region by region (the Ionian Islands, the Cyclades, etc.), she provides over 400 appealing Mediterranean recipes. Fine seafood dishes such as the Fried Mussels of northern Greece and Spiny Lobster Cooked with Spring Onions and Herbs from Lesvos abound, as do interesting meat preparations, including the many lamb and goat dishes of Roumeli and Quinces Stuffed with Ground Lamb from the north, as well as poultry standouts like One-Pot Chicken with Broth-Simmered Noodles and Ground Walnuts (upholding the tradition of cooking noodles in broth because water was scarce). Many dishes use common ingredients in surprising ways, like an earthy Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Onions from Kassos and Chard-Stuffed Turkey from Nazos. Kochilas doesn't skimp on savory pies (Fresh Cheese Pie with Fennel from Kalavyrta, Pumpkin and Carrot Pie from Cephalonia), bread (Raisin-Stuffed Lazarus Bread from Lesvos), or desserts (Pancakes with Yogurt and Currants), and she presents numerous appetizing vegetable dishes. The text sections are of uniformly high quality, with indispensable pages on regional cheeses. Kochilas writes lovingly and insightfully about her adopted country, profiling the many Greeks (mostly women) who generously shared recipes with her, and displays a deep grasp of history. (Apr.) Forecast: Kochilas's eight years of research show in the book's thoroughness. A landmark for Greek cooking in the U.S., it's a likely candidate for cookbook awards and can be confidently billed as the definitive source.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688154573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688154578
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #641,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Cosmas Bisticas on February 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a professional chef of Greek decent and have lived in Greece for more than half of my life. I have traveled throuout the country and have tried several of the dishes that appear in this book but until now was not able to succesfully duplicate them. I was quite excited when I came across this collection and give the author five stars for her tremendous effort of bringing them together unadulterated.

This book is exactly what it claims to be, if not more than it claims to be and most definately deserves a five star rating. As a few other reviewers have mentioned it is not a collection of Americanized versions of Mousaka and Pastitsio, but a comprehensive collection of recipes borrowed from kitchens across the country which may or may not appeal to all palates. Many of these dishes you will not find outside it's reigion of origin let alone at Kostas opa on Main Street USA. It is worth mentioning that the author has traveled accross Greece collecting these recipes, many of which have not been published before. Having said all of this if you are looking for a recipe for Mousaka, run a search on Google and you will get 100s of results but if you wish to experiment and test your pallate try this book. It is truly authentic!
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Diane Kochilas stands in the first rank of food writers specializing in Mediterranean cuisine, along with Mediterranean generalists Paula Wolfert, Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Claudia Roden, Clifford Wright, and Joyce Goldstein; Spanish specialist Penelope Casas; Italian specialists Marcella Hazan, Giuliano Bugialli, and Lydia Bastianich; and fellow Greek specialist Agliaia Kremezi. This is Ms. Kochilas' third book on Greek food and I apologize to the author if I slight the first two in my praise of this volume, as I have not yet read or reviewed them.
Considering food writing as a whole, not just the Mediterranean, this is easily one of the best essays of a country's cuisine I have seen. The only volume which I have read and reviewed which may be better is Diana Kennedy's `From My Mexican Kitchen', although the two books take a different route to excellence.
The very first impression is the design of the cover, typeface, and book layout that sets the stage for the feeling that this is an important book. It has the kind of restrained design I typically attribute to cookbooks published by Knopf, but which other publishers have done well. The next impression is that Ms. Kochilas has done everything that I missed from Ms. Kremezi's recent book `The Foods of the Greek Islands'. While the latter volume did a good job on recipes, it did not dedicate itself to informing it's readers in a clear, lucid manner on what it was which distinguished the cuisines of the Greek Islands from one another, from the mainland, and from the Mediterranean in general. Ms. Kochilas does this with skill and insight. The first sign of this serious analysis of her subject is the superior map of Greece with the various island groups identified and icons representing major food product sources placed on the map.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Brian Connors VINE VOICE on October 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The down side of this book is that it essentially functions as a follow-on to Kochilas' earlier book, the Food and Wine of Greece. If you want a basic introduction to Greek cuisine, pass this one by -- it will tell you a great deal about Greek cuisine, but the basics are covered better in her earlier book.

Kochilas writes with a more mature and experienced voice than in her first book -- she's been living in Greece for much of the time since the first one was published, so she's had time to develop more experience. Thus, in the writing of this book, she's had a chance to bring out much more of the history of Greece and how its food got to be the way it is. The book is part cookbook, part travelogue, and as long as you already have a more basic book on Greek cuisine it's an excellent read. It's an expensive book, though for the monumental nature of the subject matter that's understandable.

As I said, though, it's incomplete. A lot of the basic things that fans of the Greek-American diner are used to are not here; look to her first book for the basic recipes for moussaka, spanakopitta, and other dishes famous here, because if you look in this one you will find regional varieties that may be quite good but aren't exactly what you're looking for. What you will find is stunning and varied recipes from different areas that are as different in their own ways as the cuisines of Italy or China.

If you keep all of the above in mind, this book is a worthwhile investment in conjunction with its predecessor. Highly recommended, with appropriate caveats.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have been trying recipes out of this book off an on for about a year now, and I highly recommend this book to those interested in Greek and/or mediterranean cuisine. I would like to caution those who are new to Greek cooking.....this book does not feature common dishes you will find in Greek restaurants or dishes which are stereotypical of Greek cuisine, such as souvlaki, spanakotiropita, mousaka, etc.... You can find plenty of other cookbooks which have those recipes. This book is differently modern, in that it uses traditional Greek cooking methods with some untraditional ingredients to create some really great dishes. For example, a couple of nights ago, I tried a new recipe out of the book that is a stew dish of butternut squash, rice, tomato, onions, and of course, olive oil. It was fantastic! What impresses me is this dish mirrors a very traditional and basic Greek recipe of a chicken and rice dish that I have been making for years. Another recipe I just had to try was tossing cooked pasta with yogurt, carmalized onion, and grated cheese. Delicious! And a great alternative to red sauce pasta dishes. Try the recipe for stewed fava beens with onions and cumin, in the Crete section. It was very good. Again, this book is not for the novice. If you love Greek or east mediterranean cooking, and you want to step up to the next level, you will really enjoy this cook book, as I have.
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