submitted by Estiator Magazine on 12.01.2006
Houghton Mifflin, November 2000
Full-color photographs throughout
Including recipes from New York's acclaimed Molyvos Restaurant
"Aglaia's Kremezi's book is as seductive as the Greek islands she evokes." — Claudia Roden
Let's shatter the idea that Greek food is little more than stuffed grape leaves, a greek salad, and a gryo eaten on a city street corner. Greece, like its Mediterranean neighbor, Italy, has exciting regional cooking that is based on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Now comes a book to help us appreciate the diversity of and history behind Greek cuisine.
The Foods of the Greek Islands: Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean, by Aglaia Kremezi, is a groundbreaking cookbook featuring the regional foods of the more than 170 inhabited Greek islands. The recipes from the islands vary tremendously and include Tomato Patties from Santorini; Spaghetti and Lobster from Kithira; Braised Lamb with Artichokes from Chios; Greens and Potato Stew from Crete; Spinach, Leek and Fennel Pie from Skopelos; and Rolled Baklava from Kos. Now that's Mediterranean!
Aglaia Kremezi is an Athens journalist, an award-winning cookbook author, and a frequent contributor to magazines, including Gourmet. Over the last eight years she has been collecting recipes from local island women, fishermen, farmers, and bakers. Many of these recipes have never been recorded, just passed down through the generations.
Greece has served as a crossroads to the Mediterranean since the time of Homer. The islands are located between Italy and Turkey, which have often been at war with each another throughout history. That fact made for hard times but resulted in some wonderful food. Italian influences show up in Greek pastas and polentas. Eastern seasonings turn up in many dishes.
"Greek island cooking relies on flavorful ingredients rather than complicated techniques," says Kremezi. Seasonal vegetables, leafy greens, grains, olives, olive oil, beans, local cheeses, fish (fresh or cured), occasionally meat, and fresh herbs and seasonings like fennel, dill, thyme, and garlic are the ingredients for everyday cooking on the Greek islands.
Island cooking has always been shaped by the various rites of the Greek Orthodox Church. Christmas, Easter, and August 15, the feast of the Virgin Mary's Assumption, are the most colorful of the festivals. Easter is preceded by the 40 days of Lent, during which people abstain from all foods derived from animals (meat, dairy products, and eggs), as they do every Wednesday and Friday throughout the year. This abstention has inspired cooks to invent a number of exquisite vegetarian dishes that substitute for the more familiar versions made with meat. Lenten Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice; Pasta with Olive Oil, Onions, and Spices; Tomato and Onion Flatbread, and Zucchini or Chickpea Fritters are just a few of the flavorful examples. There is plenty of celebration food as well, like Roast Leg of Lamb with Potatoes, fragrant with garlic, oregano, and thyme, and Baked Chicken with Orzo.
Through the transcription of these treasured recipes, the stories of local traditions and customs, and Kremezi's beautiful photographs of islanders preparing their specialties The Foods of the Greek Islands records a cuisine and a way of life that could have been lost.
Aglaia Kremezi was born in Athens. She is a journalist, writer, photographer and food columnist for the Sunday Athens paper Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia and the Greek edition of Votre Beaute magazine. She is also a contributing author for the Los Angeles Times, Gourmet magazine, BBC Good Food magazine, Bonne Appetit, and other publications.
Her first book, The Foods of Greece, published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang in New York, won the Julia Child "First Book" award, in April '94.
Her next two books, Mediterranean Pantry, and Mediterranean Hot, were both published by Artisan/Workman and later translated into Greek.
She is part of the team of Master Chefs --together with Roger Verger, Michel Roux, Richard Olney and others-- creating a small illustrated collection of Meze and Antipasti, for the series "Classic Recipes" published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, in London.
She has also published in Athens two collections of her food columns that became best sellers in Greece.
Her book about the The Cooking Of The Greek Islands, published by Houghton Mifflin, USA, in the fall of 2000 has proved to ne immensely successful.
She has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS, and other major and local TV stations and also taught at Macy's Degustibus, at the French Culinary Institute in New York, and many other cooking Schools around the country, promoting her books and authentic Mediterranean Cuisine.
Cooking was always her passion and she is an avid collector of cookbooks and recipes from all over the world. She has studied the history of ancient Greek and Mediterranean cuisines and has taken part in and given papers to many world conferences on food.
In 1997 she was invited to be the consultant -working with the chefs and developing the menu- for Molyvos, the new upscale Greek restaurant in New York (7th avenue at 55th street) which was awarded three stars by Ruth Reichl of the New York Times.
You can order her books by calling Cosmos Publishing,
tel : (201) 664-3494 USA
Aglaia currently lives on the island of Kea, where she conducts a cooking school.
The school, in the kitchen of Aglaia’s house on the Cycladic island of Kea, is located in a little valley not far from the sea. It is surrounded by olive and almond trees, a small vegetable garden and lots of wild and cultivated Mediterranean aromatic shrubs. Classes are held in the kitchen, and the lunches are served al fresco, under a canopy. There is a BBQ and a traditional wood-burning oven in the garden.
Kea is the island of the Cyclades closest to the Athens --from the airport, a 30-minute drive and then only 1 hour by ferry.
Price: 1695 US Dollar per person
USD 1695.00 is the cost of a full 8-day program. Shorter programs may be organized upon request. InfoHub discount coupons are accepted for groups of three or more persons coming through the same source. No classes are held in August.
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