The Country Cooking of Greece

by Diane Kochilas

Chronicle Books

In shops now

If you’ve seen the previous three titles “The Country Cooking of France,” “The Country Cooking of Ireland” and  “The Country Cooking of Italy,” then you know what a remarkable feat of publishing they are.  In essence these books are scraps of recipes our grandmothers made in the home country, lusciously transposed to the glossy pages of a book that is just as comfortable in the pantry as on the coffee table.

Through 14 chapters of beautifully photographed dishes, you can even tell by the light that we are on the Mediterranean.  Kochilas tells us that “good food begins in the field” as she delves first into salads – from the Classic Greek with its Kalamata olives and Feta cheese to Cretan Beet with Yogurt and Walnuts.  Then its on to Rusks (twice baked breads), Soups and Vegetables (a whole chapter on artichokes alone), Pasta and Rice, Octopus (for the adventurous) and the usual game of the region – Lamb, Goat, and Rabbit.  Of course I wandered straight to Chapter 14: The Greek Sweet Tooth, which announces (much to my surprise) that “dessert is a relatively new development” and meals are usually finished with fresh seasonal fruit.  What desserts they have are mostly small, round cookies and various confections involving phyllo, honey and walnuts.

This volume is a wonderful addition to one of my favorite cookbook collections.  I’ve never cooked Greek cuisine, but I sure will now as I eagerly await the next country in the series.  I may well begin with Cheese Pies from Crete, because who wouldn’t want those?