A Greek book of recipes and old fashioned techniques of cooking.

@thea09 (18324)
Greece
December 3, 2009 7:18am CST
My Greek friend was showing me the almost finished book she has written this morning. It started off as a cookbook with traditional Mani recipes and techniques of the old Greek methods of cooking. My friend is in her 60's but wants it laid out in a certain way and this is expensive if someone else does it, so she's off on a course to learn how to do it herself. She is a wonderful cook and has a restaurant where she will sell the book, plus in other places such as the airports. The Greek version is written and I've agreed to help with the English version as her English is about on the same level as my Greek, in need of much correction. What wowed me the most though were the old photos of the area she has added, and she's going to email some of them to me. There was an old lady with a goat on a lead, olive picking in the old days, women hand preparing the fishing nets, and the old method of transport here - the donkeys. I don't quite know how this will turn into a discussion but maybe we can chat about the dying, traditional ways of cooking you know, or your thought on this kind of thing being lost unless someone turns out to be as enterprising as my friend.
4 people like this
14 responses
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
3 Dec 09
So want to respond to this post. But the "one who thinks that he is God" is giving me hell. Just maybe tomorrow I can response and I will tell you all about something called a coal pot. See ya!
1 person likes this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
3 Dec 09
respond not response!
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi cynthiann, I think you should tell the boss that he's working you too hard and not appreciating you enough.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
3 Dec 09
Who? Me? I am not brave enough and I need the job desperately and do not have the rights as I should have retired. He is still mad that I did not go in to work last Sunday! He told me that I am an indite not to know that when he is on property then I should be there every day. Oh stupid me! And to think I thought that it was my day off! He is trying to make me walk off the job and I am not going to do so.
1 person likes this
• Australia
3 Dec 09
Well, being an old-fashioned, traditional, conservative, oldie, I have to say the old ways are best. From all reports, there is not as much home cooking now, with so many working wives and such a variety of prepared meals. If, however, these reports are true, why is it that TV cooking programs are soooo abundant and popular, and that the recipe books take up such a large area in bookshops and newsagents? I think it is wonderful that your friend has not only put together the recipes but has learned to use the computer to put it all together, and make it into MORE than a cookbook. I would imagine it could sell well to the tourists and maybe she should look into that area. The only Greek "cooking" I've ever done is a Greek salad - called Greek simply because of the black olives and fetta. I like Thai and other Asian cooking, but haven't come across Greek.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi cloud, there's nothing but home cooking in Greece really as even if you eat out it really is just home cooking done for more people. We don't have ready meals, though a few frozen ones are popping up now, but madly expensive. The book that Voula is doing will have an English text version for the tourists and I think the amazing bit is that she has tackled all this on the computer herself. Greek cooking is really easy in general except for some of the pastries with honey, as it's all just fresh ingredients but lacks enough spice for me so I only eat it when we eat out. I must do a mousakkas soon though which is basically like a lasagane but with fried aubergines instead of pasta, and lots of cinnamon in the cheese topping. I think the TV cooking shows are on for people to watch while they eat their ready meals and make people feel they know something about cooking.
• Australia
3 Dec 09
The lots of cinnamon in the cheese topping sounds good to me. Aubergines are what we call eggplants aren't they? That is one veggie I have to introduce to my cooking. One of my sons loves them since travelling in Asia. I'll have to look for info on it.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
4 Dec 09
Yes aubergines are what some call egg plants, they are practically the national vegetable of Greece. The three main ways are fried in batter as part of a mezze or starter, cooked in the oven with tomatoes, onions and garlic, or as part of a mousakkas. All you do with them is slice them then use but they do absorb heaps of oil when cooking them but usually it comes back out again after a few minutes. I had no idea until I joined mylot that in America they peel the wonderful purple skin off them before cooking, don't fall for that one, the skin is part of each dish.
@jb78000 (15178)
3 Dec 09
well not cooking but i was having a conversation about dying skills a few days ago. this was really about making clothes - our mothers and grandmothers made lots of their own clothes, and ones for us, but this is just not something we can do and it would be nice to be able to. i used to have to ask a granny when i wanted something altered or made (this required a good deal of bribery) as my expertise runs to mending or rebuttoning and nothing else.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi jb, that was one skill I never fancied at all, being the product of home made clothes most of my earlier years. I still find it traumatic having to tack up a pair of jeans and more often go for 2 safety pins and 2 tacks. I don't think people would really want to revert to home made clothes these days though as I'm sure picking up something at the likes of Primark is much cheaper than buying material and doing it yourself. Funnily enough the fishermen out here are quite nifty with a needle and thread due to boat and net repairs, and sewing broken boat seat fabric back together.
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@jb78000 (15178)
3 Dec 09
i would like to be able to do it though. if i wanted to make something out of a particular piece of material i'd rather not have to either bribe my mum with 6,000 new books or wait until if ever primark produced it.
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@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Didn't they make you do sewing at school then. I'm sure that was late primary and I got out of it by doing woodwork instead, I remember making a lovely little boat out of balsa wood. You could make a nice scarf or a sarong out of a piece of material.
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@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
3 Dec 09
Good for your friend & good for u for offering to help her. I think it's really neat when someone can be so smart to do something like that. I hope she has real good luck w/it & sells a bunch of them.
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@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi Aunty, I'm sure the book will be a big hit as it was really beautiful, much more so than the Greek cookery books which are already on sale. Plus she's a lovely lady who never minds giving a cooking secret away whereas most of them won't. She was planning a few deliberate English mistakes as the tourists always love finding them on menus over here, the usual one is grilled lamb chumps, instead of chops, but she'd added the rather original aborgine in place of aubergine.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
4 Dec 09
She sounds like a fun person. Glad u have her for a friend.
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32271)
• United States
3 Dec 09
With the invention of microwave ovens, it seems that more and more things are ready made, and there is no need to make them from scratch anymore. We hardly make anything from scratch anymroe, and that is a tradition I'd like to change. I need to learn how to cook, but would love to be able to make biscuits and dumplings from scratch, as well as cookies, cakes, and the sort! I'd love to see some of the photos, so you should definitely upload them to this discussion ro to your profile, Thea.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi Amber, you probably know what a dud I am with uploading photos but when I get them I'll ask fjaril for a hand as they are indeed the most wonderful 'fotos'. Cooking is really easy as is baking, and I've no option as our supermarkets aren't packed with ready meals. They do sell cakes and biscuits but home made are much better. Of course the bread maker has replaced the bought bread now but it's not the same as the tradtional way of cooking it in the outside bread oven powered by twigs, and that does still go on in some villages. You should try out some home made cooking with the good old fashioned stuff that hardly takes any time. Yesterday I had a lovely beef casserole in the oven half an hour after starting and that will taste even better tonight than it did last night and works out much cheaper too.
2 people like this
@SomeCowgirl (32271)
• United States
11 Dec 09
Now that I am working and are at GG's every day, I can look at her cookbooks. She has so many that it's amazing. I thought of taking a notebook and jotting down some recipes to try out!
@jillhill (37384)
• United States
4 Dec 09
I think it's a wonderful thing for her to do.....to pass along traditions that might otherwise be lost! And to make it so interesting! Good luck to her!
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
4 Dec 09
Hi jillhill, I thought so to, especially as it was so beautiful. I think the photographs are so important to show how things used to be. She says it has been really hard work with the layout and everything but she was rightly very proud of it and is already planning another.
1 person likes this
@jennybianca (12915)
• Australia
4 Dec 09
I think it is wonderful to write any kind of book. A tradional cooking book should be quite popular, especially with the old Greek photos. If you are doing the translating to English this will help you with your Greek. There is a My Lotter who is producing a cookbook, which I am contributing to. I wrote my family history a few years. I would love to get it in book form, not for publication, but for members of my extended family. I have no idea how to go about it. PS. I have bought some bread making flour. Im going to make this loaf with oregano and coriander. You got me motivated.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
4 Dec 09
Hi jenny, don't mention the rigani word to me (sorry oregano). It used to be something I could take or leave but living here I've developed an intense hatred of the stuff as it goes in or on everything so in the end its the only thing one can taste. The Greeks are horrified that anyone can't like it.So it most definitely won't be going in any bread of mine. My ends of fruit bread, which my son said he didn't like much, made a delicious bread and butter pudding last night which he loved even though it was the same bread. I need to do some later but haven't made my mind up yet which kind to do. For your family history book into book form I don't know, Voula was told it was very expensive but that was for a specific fancy layout with pictures and photos, recipes etc. You could probably get some idea of how to start by googling.
@RawBill1 (8542)
• Gold Coast, Australia
3 Dec 09
That is awesome that she is keeping the old traditions alive as those old methods are generally a lot healthier than most of the modern food options! I have a large book called "Back To Basics" which I bought when I was in my early twenties. Only now am I realising how great this book is. It teaches old fashioned ways of building homes out natural and recycled materials, fermenting and preserving foods, gardening for food production, farming the land, harvesting water, etc... It is a huge thick book which has diagrams and illustrations to support the very descriptive text. It is one of those books that I will have forever!
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
That book sounds fun Bill, well obvioulsy not the bit about buidling houses but preserving foods and stuff, and making use of the land. You never know when you might need to do that kind of thing. It was really strange seeing pictures of women 60 years ago doing the nets, whilst all dressed up, in the same way that the men do them now. Funnily enough you never see women doing that anymore. Or taking the goats out on leads.
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
3 Dec 09
I love Greek food. I think that technology, prepackaged food, and kitchen gadgets are really messing with the old ways of preparing foods. Don't get me wrong, I am guilty of the quick fix when it comes to preparing meals, but the food made from scratch always tastes so much better.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi lilybug, we still don't have much in the way of prepackaged food out here as most everything is still cooked from scratch, but in more modern ways. These days we use electric cookers instead of fires or outdoor bread ovens, but the friend who is doing the book has a display one night each week in the summer where she demonstrates the old fashioned outdoor bread oven in use. The nearest we get to prepackaged food though is if we ask the taverna to put the food in a packet to bring home.
2 people like this
@PeacefulWmn9 (10424)
• United States
3 Dec 09
Hello Thea. I think what your friend is doing, preserving tradition in a way, is excellent. There have been groups in my area, including residents of a local facility for the elderly, churches, etc., who have done this, and I love owning these kinds of books. Perhaps it will catch on, and if it does, she could try selling the book on Amazon or somewhere that will reach a bigger audience. The pictures sound like a perfect addition! Karen
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
3 Dec 09
Hi Karen, most welcome are you to this Greek life style discussion which I accidentally stuck in pe despite its complete lack of satire. I was most impressed with her learning all these computer techniques as well considering she was brought up without electricity. I've a few Greek cookbooks and they have the knack of making all the food look completely unappetising, whilst Voula's was making me hungry. Glad to hear its going on your way too but probably the methods weren't quite as primitive there. There was a wonderful photo of two old ladies stirring a huge bucket of what I thought was soup, only to have it revealed it was a large bucket of olive oil soap in the making.
1 person likes this
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
4 Dec 09
As a guy who never intended to do any cooking, but have to now because of necessity, I wouldn't have any clue to differentiate a meal prepared the traditional way, as opposed to the current norms. But good on your friend on trying to put this in writing. May her book inspire a lot of people to take up traditional cooking, and share these skills to the younger generation, or maybe open up restaurants for other people to enjoy. And may I be one of those other people who will enjoy and learn the difference.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
4 Dec 09
Hi bounce, well we do still use a lot of traditional ways here, we pick our own olives for olive oil rather than buying it the supermarket, pull the fruit straight from the trees, but we don't cook in outside ovens any more very much. But it strikes me that Greeks are born able to gut a fish and turn out some dishes by osmosis. It sounds on here as if the modern ways of cooking tend to be buying a ready processed meal and sticking it in the microwave. By the way if you are cooking from necessity and get stuck just ask for advice in the cookery interest and you'll be floored by it.
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
4 Dec 09
Well, I don't actually just cook in the microwave, unless I am at work. For the kids at home, I still try my 'tradional' way of pot and pans. But, I do use instant mixes that come in small packets. It has pictures of spices outside, but they are just usually colored, powdered stuff that I mix in water. But, thanks for the suggestion!
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
5 Dec 09
HA, coloured powdered stuff that mixes up in water, they sound really
@dawnald (84131)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Dec 09
Dying traditional ways of cooking - anything not involving a microwave?
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
11 Dec 09
I take it that you don't bake your bread in an outside oven powered by twigs though. How will you manage when your state runs out of electricity completely because you were forced to use the tumble drier?
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84131)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Dec 09
it's a gas drier silly, uses less energy...
13 Jan 10
I'm going to take this slightly off on a tangent away from the cooking side of things because I love looking through old photos, especially when they are from somehwere you can relate to like where you live. I've literally spent weeks browsing old photos of the town I live in and it's amazing how much it has changed but also seeing some of the events which have happened, like when during the second world war the town was struck by a bomb, or that there used to be an old animal market where a supermarket now stands. It really fascinates me.
@pergammano (7755)
• Canada
4 Dec 09
thea...you are truly blessed to be part of this project. A learning experience that would so inspire me. The Greek history combined with traditional skills..WOW!And to be able to unearth those wonderful pics. Be proud of yourself to put this in print! Too much fact and lore is lost in this TOO fast paced world! Will you have to sell your bread machine????? Cheers, dear girl..and HUGZ!
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
4 Dec 09
Hi shirey, perish the very thought that I would part with my bread machine. It does one loaf a time which is adequate for our needs. In one of the higher villages a darling old lady there makes bread once a week, varying in size from large round loaves to those as big as a table top, all cooked in the enormous outside bread oven. This is cooked to order the the village residents. So that one is still alive but much less so these days where bakeries are in most villages. The photographs were wonderful though, I love to see the old black and white images of times gone by, some of those sights can still be seen now but rarely andwill most probably die off with the current geneation of the older folks and the sights of donkeys carrying the olive nets will all be replaced with trucks and machinery. I won't be a part of it so much as a sounding board on how to express the Greek in English as literal translations between the two languages rarely work.Have a great weekend and hoping your weather has improved over there. We had so much torrential rain on Tuesday that my car actually became stuck in the mud. Hugs.