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The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health Hardcover – December 30, 2008

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The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health + The Mediterranean Prescription: Meal Plans and Recipes to Help You Stay Slim and Healthy for the Rest of Your Life + The Mediterranean Diet for Beginners: The Complete Guide - 40 Delicious Recipes, 7-Day Diet Meal Plan, and 10 Tips for Success
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This nutritionally sound, flavor-savvy cookbook, first published in 1994, was arguably ahead of its time—at least for American readers. Of course, a wave of American dieters and nutritionists have since come to advocate Mediterranean eating habits, including a largely plant-based diet with modest amounts of proteins and plenty of good fats. Jenkins's updated and revised version will surely reach a wider audience. Jenkins, an American who has lived in Italy, France, Lebanon, Cyprus and Spain, zeros in on the dietary patterns that link these nations. Yet Jenkins's approach is hardly prescriptive; she prefers to gently encourage good habits rather than lay out a daily regime. The 250 recipes are largely traditional dishes, some of which may be novel to her readership, such as Provençal chickpea soup; Moroccan lamb tagine with apricots; and kourabiedes, Greek butter almond cookies. Jenkins has removed the nutritional data from the previous edition, which allows for a greater emphasis on the food itself. Jenkins's recipes are reliable, and though dishes like pizza made from scratch require extra time and effort, the payoff is in the slow food, Mediterranean approach: an overall respect and enjoyment for what we eat that translates into greater health. Jenkins is an effective ambassador for this way of thinking about food, and her cookbook is a wonderful resource for anyone considering it. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

In the decade since Jenkins first revealed the Mediterranean diet’s virtues, nutritional theory has repeatedly validated its benefits. The Mediterranean’s reliance on breads and pastas, fresh vegetables, olive oils, minimal but high-quality meat, and few sweets mark it a heart-healthy regimen. Complementing Italy’s pastas, Spain’s tapas have won an American audience. These little plates, meant for preprandial grazing, present diners a wide variety of options. Tapas help assuage hunger with multiple intense flavors and textures. Eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean offer their own delights with Turkish, Lebanese, and Moroccan dishes, and Jenkins includes a few examples. Ever-increasing availability of ethnic foods and more-demanding consumers have made many Mediterranean staples and fresh foods available in mainstream American groceries to an unprecedented degree. Oddly, Jenkins barely mentions the role of wine, considered by many a nutritionally important part of this diet. Includes bibliography. --Mark Knoblauch
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553385097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553385090
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.5 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nancy Harmon Jenkins is a food writer with a passionate interest in Mediterranean cultures and cuisines, sustainable agriculture, and farm-to-market connections. Author of half a dozen highly acclaimed cookbooks, she writes for the New York Times, Saveur, and Food & Wine, and divides her time between her farmhouse outside of Cortona, Italy, and the coast of Maine.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 80 people found the following review helpful By J. Boothe on February 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is well written, and the recipes are solid. Some of the recipes are not for novice cooks and could be frustrating for them. But, the recipes are well worth the time (these are NOT 30 minute meals!) and effort. I really like the snippets of history woven through the book, making certain recipes feel like they are being handed down to you.
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful By i4abuy on March 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I checked this book out of the library yesterday to give it a test drive before buying it. Well, this is a pretty short test drive -- I'm here at the dealer's lot. I'm sold!

The book has a lot of ideas that I've just not seen before. Last night I served the grilled asparagus with bitter orange and it was a refreshing change from the usual puddle of olive oil. Tonight I'm trying the fish and spinach au gratin. Tomorrow, the swordfish with almond sauce. These are three dishes I hadn't seen even though I have several cookbooks from the Mediterranean region. And the book is loaded with recipes for next week. What to try next? I'm a happy man and my family is going to be happier.

One of the features that makes the book work for me is the stories that accompany each recipe. This is such a diverse region with differing food traditions and palates that the introductory paragraphs help set a context for each recipe.

I agree with others that pictures would be nice. In 2009 there are a bunch of books on the market where the pictures are better than the recipes. But even if a picture is worth a thousand words, in the end I need the ingredients, steps, and times to put the dish together, so I can't take away a star for leaving the pictures out.
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112 of 121 people found the following review helpful By D. Brown on August 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Reading through the introductory sections of this book leads you to believe the recipes are relatively easy. Wrong! You need a million items stocked in your pantry, you need to have a source for buying gourmet mushrooms and the like, and you need quite a bit of time to actually make the recipes. Definitely not for someone who actually works for a living! Even though the recipes are delicious, I can't see myself making them more than maybe once a week on the weekend.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Cesar on March 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my new favorite cookbook, and I'm excited about trying more of the recipes. I made the North African Spiced Fish twice already because it's so flavorful and easy. Many of the recipes are easy to prepare (30-45 minutes prep then pop into an oven), but, naturally, there are several recipes that are more challenging for an ordinary home cook like myself. But I still plan to give a couple of those a shot. Many of the dishes are based around tomatoes, herbs, olive oil, onions, garlic, and peppers (not necessarily hot); if you like those foods, which I do, then these recipes will suit you well. Also, one thing I really liked as a novice is the author's reassurance that it's okay to "make do" with what you have on hand and not fret over exact measurements/ingredients. If a particular ingredient or measurement is critical to the dish, she points that out.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J.D. Tuccille on July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My wife has a genetic tendency toward high cholesterol and heart disease, and we both have a taste for recipes from the cultures scattered around the Mediterranean, so this book was a natural for us. We've been delighted with the recipes in the book and find ourselves using them several times per week, and incorporating the ideas in the book into our other meals.

And since we began our dietary changes, including the use of this book, my wife's cholesterol count has come down from 193 to 139, with a very healthy ratio.

The book does require a basic familiarity with kitchen techniques, and a comfort with cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients -- there's no "semi-homemade" nonsense here. But if you have some basic skills, or a copy of "Joy of Cooking" to which to refer for guidance, nothing in here is too complicated.

I see some complaints in other reviews about recipes requiring hard-to-find ingredients. Honestly, I find that surprising. I live in a rural area 100 miles from the nearest Whole Foods, and I can find most of the ingredients without difficulty, and easily substitute for those few that are out of my reach. And if you have to skip a recipe or two, so be it. Make the carrots in chermoula sauce instead of the Tuscan kale.

If you have an interest in healthy eating, and a taste for Italian and/or Moroccan and/or Greek food, you just can't go wrong with this cookbook. It will help you improve your diet, and introduce you to more food that you'll enjoy.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Sarah S. on May 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This cookbook is always at the top of my cookbook stack-- a rather large feat! I especially like the fish recipes because they are easy, different, healthy and make fish taste way better than, well, fish. I really recommend this book. I'm not top chef either but while some of the recipes are more complicated, plenty are simple too. Enjoy!
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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Squinkymom on October 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this new edition based upon my experience with the previous edition, which I borrowed from the library. It came today and I dove into it, looking to see where it had been revised, and much to my dismay (and surprise) there have been several tweaks to make things a bit more esoteric. The most disappointing part of this is the change to the babaghanouj, which is the primary reason I bought the book! Now it is called "tart and spicy roasted eggplant salad" and now has spicy green chilies and plain yogurt in it. And the basic hummus recipe? Gone! In sum, the simple, delectable, fresh recipes that attracted me to this book in the first place are gone. Sad...luckily the older edition is still available from used booksellers!
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