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The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health Hardcover – June 1, 1994

4.1 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Chances are excellent that you could cook out of The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for the rest of your life and never feel the slightest tinge of boredom. How does Moroccan Carrot Salad with Orange and Lemon Juice sound? Or Catalan Soup of White Beans and Clams? Or Lebanese Fish Baked in a Tomato-Cilantro Sauce?

Mediterranean cooking is refreshingly low in salt, fat, and starch, relying instead on fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and poultry. Nancy Harmon Jenkins provides a delicious alternative for anyone who feels their basic diet needs a change, but isn't sure which way to turn. Jenkins relishes tradition and place, and the vibrant people who bring this style of cooking alive. She circles the Mediterranean, collecting the classic recipes that fall within the defined parameters of the Mediterranean diet (as recognized by the World Health Organization): "plentiful fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains; olive oil as the principal fat; lean red meat only a few times a month; low to moderate consumption of other foods from animal sources, such as dairy products, fish and poultry; and moderate consumption of wine." Simplicity is the key to the Mediterranean diet--simple ingredients and stress-free preparation and cooking. This is more than a cookbook--it is a blueprint for healthier living. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

Though many authors have tackled the healthful recipes of the Mediterranean, Jenkins is not simply following a fad. She brings her understanding of the culture, gained through years of living and working in the region, to the task of writing a comprehensive cookbook. Jenkins gives practical advice on how to gradually implement the Mediterranean diet at home, urging us to eat more fruits, grains and vegetables, reduce meat and fat intake, cook with olive oil instead of butter, serve plain bread at every meal to increase consumption of carbohydrates, and--perhaps hardest of all--to set aside time for meals every day, "building a sense of food as a fundamentally communal, shared experience." Jenkins's recipes, though not always inventive, are faithful to the originals and demonstrate her appreciation for the vagaries of cooking well with fresh foodstuffs that may not always yield the same measures. She unfolds the common threads of cuisine that unite the Mediterranean, acknowledging regional variations that lend piquancy.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (June 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553096087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553096088
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.7 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #460,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nancy Harmon Jenkins is a food writer and journalist with a passionate interest in Mediterranean cultures and cuisines, sustainable agriculture, and farm-to-market connections. She began writing about food in various parts of the Mediterranean in 1975, and has a long list of publications to her credit, including books, magazines, and journalism. Author of a number of highly acclaimed cookbooks, as well as a novel and a study of Ancient Egyptian maritime archeology, she also writes for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Saveur, and Eating Well, among other publications. She has been a staff writer for the New York Times food section, publications director of the American Institute of Wine & Food, and a founding director of Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust.
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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always felt that the word "diet" hurts the appeal of this book. It is not a "go on this and lose weight" diet, but rather "the way the Mediterrean peoples of the world eat" diet. Most healthcare professionals feel that the Mediterrean diet is the healthiest diet there is; however, this book is on a list of my top five cookbooks in a collection of approximately 500 based on how delicious the food is! Try the Greek Salad and the Salad Nicoise, two dishes that are horribly served in diners all over the Northeast, to see how they really should taste. The food is truly wonderful AND healthy. The recipes are clearly written and easy to prepare. I give this book as a present all the time to both my health-conscious friends and my cooking friends. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to cook, to anyone who loves to eat, and to anyone who wants to clean up his nutritional act in 1997. I give my thanks to Nancy Harmon Jenkins for a monumental work and wish everyone who tries it good eating and good luck.
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Format: Hardcover
I discovered this book in searching for things that could help me do a better job of managing my own recently diagnosed hypertension. It is recommended in Dr. Thomas Pickering's book, "Good News about Hight Blook Pressure." Pickering is no "alternative" health faddist. He is a real doctor who bases his recommendations on the best scientific medical research he has at his disposal. He recommends the Mediterranean diet (over no less than that of the American Heart Association) and this book by Nancy Harmon Jenkins as one which can introduce you to the cultural experience of Mediterranean eating at an aesthetic level. This book has given our family an extraordinary series of great dining experiences. There is nothing dull about the recipes in this book. And the author has traveled and researched the subject so well that many of the recipes begin with a discussion of the person from whom the recipe is taken. The Moroccan Harira is an exceptional bean soup with just a little lean beef in it to add some interest bites along with the chick peas and lentils. It is the ginger, the cinnamon and the saffron, though, that make this soup a standing ovation dish. And this just an humble bean soup. Throughout, the spices are exotic and the uses of vegetables that most Americans long ago relegated to the category of culinary boredom are creative and delicious. Get a copy of this beautifully presented book, buy a drum of olive oil and get ready for healthy dining. Oh, and a little red wine is O.K., too. The Mediterranean diet is an absolute delight for its followers. As soon as I post this review, I am ordering two more copies as Christmas gifts for people on my list who love to cook and who like to venture beyond their secure bounds of their own culture. Neither of them has any problem with hypertension as far as I know. And, with this book on their kitchen reading shelf, perhaps they never will.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a lot of heart trouble and I bought this cookbook specifically to look into The Mediterranean Diet as a means to benefit my precarious health. I cook a lot, every day, as I'm retired and it's my job to prepare a balanced suppertime meal for my wife and me each day -- she's still working full-time and, of course, she's pretty hungry when she comes through the door each evening. (If you want to see what my own chefing skill-level is, go to "Recipezaar" and look up "Bone Man" -- that's me and I have about 300 recipes posted there that you can view and/or print for free).

This cookbook is intelligently written, bulging with great and useful advice, and details of The Mediterranean Diet are clearly stated therein; however, one would be very hard-pressed to complete all the tasks which go with owning a home and raising a family, and balancing that burden with cooking the dishes found in here.

These are, in fact, fine recipes (I've made several of them), but my point is, they're too complex and ingredient-diverse to pull off every day and that objective is sort of the purpose of any particular diet. An example of the problem is that sometimes, one recipe refers you to yet another recipe, on a different page, for preparation. Another evaluation is that one would need to go to the grocery at least every other day as this author uses a LOT of different ingredients -- while conforming nicely to The Mediterranean Diet requirements, these recipes are very diverse in regard to ingredients. A final comment is that these dishes are not largely all that cheap to make and, over time, this becomes a problem for many of us.

One other criticism I have is that, while the book is nicely bound, it's inappropriately bound for a cookbook. It's fairly large and it doesn't lie flat.
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By A Customer on January 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Jenkins's Mediterranean Diet Cookbook is a super addition to anyone's cookbook shelf. Her plain language explanation of the cooking methods was a big plus. Her scientific ammunition on the benefits of this type of diet is impressive --makes me wonder how much I should believe about some of those reports on fats, etc. The book has proved especially useful here in California where lemons, fish, and other items are much more plentiful than in my previous home...and her translation of ingredients into American supermarket terms is wonderful. I espcially enjoyed the salad dressings, the fish recipes, and the vegetable soups.
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