Great Greek Eats

Greek food is more than dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), spanakopita (spinach pie), and avgolemono soupa (egg-lemon soup). Many Greek cookbooks include these and other well-known favorites. They’re on the menu of every food festival, in the table of contents of every church recipe book, and what we remember eating at grandmother’s house.

I rely on Greek Cooking For The Gods by Eva Zane, 101 Productions, 1970 for the basics. However, that book is out of print. Modern Greek by Andy Harris, Chronicle Books, 2002 is a wonderful alternative. The later book is beautifully designed and filled with full-color photos throughout.

Anyone who wants to delve more deeply into the regional food of Greece should check out The Glorious Foods Of Greece by Diane Kochilas, William Morrow, 2001. The book covers each of a dozen regions of the country: the foods typical of each, what is usually available, and numerous recipes gathered from local cooks she met during her travels while researching the book.

The first dish I prepared from her book was the cheese and squash pie from Hania on page 420. I wanted to replicate one of several courses served by Maria on her balcony in Athens one summer night a couple years ago. Since then I also cooked savory pies from other areas that are now a part of my culinary repertoire.

Kochilas is a New Yorker with roots on the island of Ikaria. She currently lives in Athens and has a cooking school on the northern side of the island. She has her own web site, dianekochilas.com, and quite a few videos on YouTube.

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

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