‘Food From Many Greek Kitchens’ – Tessa Kiros
Murdoch Books – 2010
Photography: Manos Chatzikonstantis
The introduction to this book is rather different containing the Greek alphabet with examples of words for that letter as well as a useful glossary of terms. This is a lovely reminder of the long history that Greece has and feeds well into the first section of Traditional Foods.
The organisation of the book is rather odd and it can be hard to find things in it, the contents has very little information about what is in each section but everything is listed in the index.
The photography is brilliant and a large number of the recipes have pictures with them which is a huge boon with foods that may be less familiar (there were certainly a lot that I had never heard of) although there are a lot of pictures of ovens, table settings, windows etc. that would have been much more useful if they had food in them. On a similar note there are huge patches of white space around the rather squashed text which seems wasteful.
The range of recipes is excellent and the seafood especially are really different and interesting. Quite a few of the titles had no explanations alongside to show what they were and in some cases it was pretty hard to guess. The notes from Kiros about her life and small anecdotes are dotted throughout the book and break up the recipes nicely without interfering with the flow.
The sweets are especially interesting. They are amazing and very different but not so much as to be intimidating to people who are unfamiliar with Greek cookery (me!). There is also a lot of insight into the herbs and spices used in Greek cooking which is lovely for playing around with flavours. Some of the ingredients that Kiros uses are harder to find but she often gives alternatives for the less common items so that replacements can be found.
I had a few niggling problems with this book but the main is the font – it is in a light teal colour and lots in italics making it really difficult to see even when sitting and reading through so would much harder using it while cooking.
Overall this is a great collection of recipes but a terrible book, definitely worth reading through for the ideas but much harder work than it should have been which is a real shame. The best recipes for me were the Melomakarona Honey Cakes, the Sesame Bread Rings, the Fakes Lentil Soup and the Grape Juice Pudding.