Flavors of Greece
6 1/8” x 9 1/4” • 384 pages • 8 pages of full-color photos, a map
ISBN 9781566565516 • paperback • $20.00 •
"Every once in a while a cookbook author happens along who makes an important contribution to our culinary landscape. Such is Rosemary Barron and here she presents a book you can fall in love with."
-- Paula Wolfert
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Greek food is simple, honest and unfussy. It has a healthy indifference to fashion and trends but a supreme ability to promote feelings of well-being and conviviality. Even the most sophisticated world-traveled Greek approaches a village table laden with foods such as wild greens, spit roasted lamb, and sweet cheese pies with relish and enthusiasm. Dining in Greece is an activity that stimulates all the senses; the food is colorful, pungent and fragrant, perfumed by the wonderful heady fragrances of fresh herbs and spices, and it is consumed with great gusto. Whether the meal is eaten at home or in a harbor-side taverna it is always accompanied by animated conversation and spirited appreciation of the food.
In Flavors of Greece Rosemary Barron invites us to share these communal pleasures and to accompany her on her exploration of the Greek kitchen via the markets, full of shapes, colors and textures which excite the senses—glossy vegetables and lush juicy fruits, plump nuts, sacks of dried beans and pulses, sea-fresh fish, crumbly white cheeses and barrels of glistening black olives.
You will find no haute cuisine in this book but much fine food. There are over 250 recipes; many are simple, based on good, fresh ingredients; many are highly flavored and aromatic; all taste even better when shared with friends. Here are regional and national specialties: mezes, little appetizers and dishes that in combination so often become a meal in themselves; fried cheeses, salted almonds, creamy tarama, capers, cucumber and yogurt; delicate lemon and egg broths, hearty winter bean soups; grilled meats and fish, casseroles, stuffed vegetables and pilafs, infused with the flavors of oregano, rosemary, cumin, garlic and cinnamon, nuts and raisins.
The best way to appreciate the informal, seasonal food Greek cooking provides, is to try it for yourself, and in Rosemary Barron and her delightful collection of recipes there is no better guide.
Rosemary Barron founded Kandra Kitchen, Greece’s highly acclaimed cooking school, in the early 1980s. She teaches and lectures on Greek cuisine dividing her time between Greece, the United States and England. She is a member of the Guild of Food Writers and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
"This crammed cookbook goes far beyond the usual moussaka and tzatziki to explore the rustic intricacies of Greek food. Barron, founder of one of Greece's foremost cooking schools, is especially interested in the creative use of fresh herbs; many of her recipes call for Greek-style oregano, rosemary, fennel and mint. Sweet and Sour Zucchini, for example, is bright with cinnamon and pepper, and Grilled Quail is redolent of parsley and lemon. Even desserts are pleasantly spicy: Fruits in Sweet Wine and Honey is seasoned with coriander, and Aromatic Rice Pudding is flavored with the licorice-like taste of mastic. Most of the recipes are relatively simple, but a few require elaborate preparation, such as the Paschal Lamb, which demands ‘a spit about six feet long.' However, for households not equipped with such a device, the author allows that the recipe would be well served with a leg of lamb instead of the entire animal, and it is: the tender lamb, rubbed with lemon, oil, sea salt and herbs, is smoky and delicious. A slice or two, alongside some Tiny Cracked Potatoes, a piece of fresh-made Pita Bread and maybe a glass of retsina, and dinner becomes a vacation in the Greek isles."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Flavors abound in these unimposing but often festive recipes from the culture that, if Barron's sources are correct, taught the Italians and French their culinary ABC's. (Macaroni? There is archaeological evidence that the Greeks have made it ``since antiquity.'') Tart, sweet, fragrant, and savory seasonings mix synergistically in various ways to set off an alluring repertoire of appetizers, grilled or spit-roasted fish and meat, fresh vegetables and festive breads, and salads of assertive greens. Then there are those delectable syrupy, fruit-and-nut-filled sweets. Barron, founder of the Kandra Kitchen school of Greek cooking, succeeds in preserving the dishes' distinctive integrity while accommodating her American audience. Her book should make real Greek cooking better known here and enthusiastically embraced by a culture already mad for rustic Italian fare."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Practical and charmingly evocative."
-- Claudia Roden
"Culinary author Rosemary Barron is also a chef and founder of her own acclaimed cooking school in Crete, and brings to Flavors of Greece an approach and authenticity often missing in competing cookbooks."
-- Library Bookwatch
"Flavors of Greece is a delightful read and has more than 250 national and regional specialties...Read of traditional flavors, customs, the Greek kitchen...Enjoy the aromas, picture yourself at the games or a picturesque village, on an archaeological dig, or enjoying meze in an out of the way taverna."
--Lois Friedman, Jewish Press
"Like the azure waters of the Aegean, this cookbook invites readers to dive in. When they do they'll find refreshment and restoration. The author revitalizes readers with whole-hearted passion and unceasing hospitality through the Greek diet of olives, wheat, figs, fish, and abundant produce.
Barron first introduces readers to a little of the culture and history of Greece. Until 3500 B.C. its inhabitants grilled and baked the food they hunted, fished, or gathered. Barron says, "But with the advent of what has been called the ‘Greek miracle'-the budding of the sophisticated Minoan civilization on the islands of Crete and Santorini-Greek cuisine began to develop a strongly individual style." Trade links brought dates, olives, onions, and many other foods to this "Garden of Eden."
As they turn the pages, readers will feel the Mediterranean sun warming their backs and catch a glimpse of the sparkle of sky and sea. They might even imagine the intoxicating aroma of lemon blossoms mixed with wild oregano as Barron launches into a detailed description of a Greek kitchen. She offers recipes for preserved lemons, yogurt, and candied citrus zest, and details varieties of Greek olives, cheese, and herbs. The luxuriant offerings begin with chapters on appetizers; soups; light meals of egg, stuffed vegetables, and savory pies; fish and seafood and chicken and game. Recipes for meats; vegetables and salads; rice and pasta; breads; pies, pastries, cakes, and cookies; fruit desserts and sweets follow.
This cookbook takes a comprehensive look at Greek food and its history, and no one is better qualified than Barron to write it. A seasoned cook and teaching veteran, Barron first became fascinated with Greek food and its history during an archaeological dig on Crete. Fifteen years later she opened a cooking school on Santorini and Crete. She operated it for six years, weaving Greek foods and wines into the daily culture and rhythms of Greek village life for her American and Canadian students. Barron continues to lecture, write, and teach about Greek food and its culinary culture, ancient and modern, around the world.
Greek food is one of the three ancient Mother cuisines (along with Italian and Chinese). Barron tells readers that a Greek invented the fork and that Greeks established the first culinary schools. She says, "Ancient Greeks regarded cooking as both an art and a science and throughout the ancient world Greek chefs were accorded the status and reputation that French chefs now enjoy."
Prosaic Greek salads and souvlakis pass for Greek food in America. Barron?s recipes-laced with quince paste, dates, honey, and marjoram-read like poetry. Peppered Dried Figs, Black Olives and Lentil Salata, Tiny Vegetable Pies, Avgolemono Soup, Stuffed Onions with Green Grape Sauce, Sea Bass with Vinegar and Rosemary, Chicken with Walnut and Coriander Sauce, and Cinnamon Lamb with Eggplants are as inviting as they are uncomplicated.
The chapters on Vegetables and Salads and Pilafs and Pastas offer Baked Eggplants with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese, Sweet Sour Okra with Olive Oil, Honey-Glazed Onions, Wild Greens Salad, Eggplant Pilaf with Glazed Tomatoes, Spiced Shrimp Pilaf, and Kritharaki (orzo pasta) with Brown Butter and Cheese. The Breads and Sweets chapter is generous, with recipes for handmade phyllo and many phyllo desserts, Sticky Yogurt Cake, Fragrant Apricot Ice Cream, and Sweet Baked Figs.
Cooks won't need a degree in French to understand these dishes- their sense of taste and Barron's guidance will be enough. The author writes clear, crisp recipes with flavor-enhancing tips. For example, in the recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves with Latholemono Sauce, she suggests achieving a rich, velvety finish by substituting Green Grape Sauce for half the water, as the Cretans do, to cook the stuffed grape leaves. Everywhere readers look in this fine cookbook they will meet some new and enticing bit of food information. Barron devotes several pages to Greek wines and spirits, naming producers and the grapes they grow. In her detailed glossary she informs the readers about anchovies, cephalopods, khorta (wild greens), kid (how to buy, prepare, and roast this older lamb over coals), onion juice (Greeks use it to tenderize and flavor meat before grilling), and sea urchins and snails (how to gather, feed, cook, and prepare them).
Barron offers readers a path to vibrant, exciting food through this bursting-at-the-seams cookbook. They may not have the Aegean at their doorstep, nor the sweet fragrance of lemons drifting through on a salty breeze, but with Barron's cookbook their kitchen will carry the essence of Greece all the same."
-- Foreword Magazine
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