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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
I haven't been to Greece for 15 years, but I remember the food pretty clearly: From the Peloponnese to the islands, we were offered the same tired dishes over and over again: moussaka, shish-kebabs, tyropita, and yogurt.
After reading Diane Kochilas's The Glorious Foods of Greece I now understand: the good cooking (and there's lots of it) goes on behind closed doors, reserved for the residents. Her thoroughly researched, very readable, and beautifully produced book will be the touchstone for any Greek cookbooks that dare to follow. She does for Greece what Waverly Root did for France in The Food of France and what Paula Wolfert does for almost any country whose cuisine she researches.
Kochilas, a native New Yorker whose father was Greek, married a Greek artist and moved "back" in the early 1990s. In addition to reviewing food and restaurants for a large Greek daily paper, she has spent the last decade researching the country and its regional culinary traditions.
The roots of Greek cooking become clear as Kochilas distinguishes the three main cooking traditions of the country: the shepherd's cuisine (portable, dairy-dependent creations such as savory pies), the fare of the arid islands (simple dishes born of scarcity, based on grains, grapes, and olives), and the Byzantine-based cooking of Thrace and Macedonia (influenced by Persian, Turkish, and French cuisines).
The book is divided according to region, from the Peloponnese to Athens, with more than 400 traditional recipes -- from appetizers to spoon sweets -- from the islands, cities, and villages. Many of these regional recipes have never been recorded; many have not changed for centuries. What looks good? Just about everything, but cooks will want to note the dozens of recipes for savory pies, unusual greens, and the overall abundance of vegetarian dishes, a happy offshoot of the many no-meat days in the Greek Orthodox calendar. (Ginger Curwen)