First of all thank you all for participating in another round of Cook the Books. I know that many of you had mixed feelings about the book, as I did, but I guess true stories can sometimes be difficult to read.
I would also like to thank you for your kind words about my shoulder. Apparently it is a genetic defect and the other one will soon be giving me trouble as well. Pilates has really helped, I highly recommend it for any myo-sceletic problems.
Now, down to business: below you will see everyone’s entries. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did and soon we will have a winner, chosen by Patricia herself.
1. Eliot of Eliot’s Eats made Greek Pizza . Eliot in her post gives a very in-depth review of Harlot’s Sauce, with all the pros and cons, happy and unhappy moments. Since the book has few insights about Greek food, Eliot decided to make a pizza, the dish which brought Gregori and Patricia together. Her pizza is delicious and Greek-inspired, although I will point here that hummus, albeit really tasty, in not Greek at all, as many people might think, but Middle Eastern.
2. Alicia of Foodycat made tisane, a fragrant warm infusion “good for the digestion, soothing for the soul”. Alicia points out that “This is not a book of lavish feasts bringing families together….” it is “all food as a weapon, lacking joy”. I actually think that the lack of joy towards food reflects Patricia’s complicated psychological state, rather than anything else.
3. Ann of La buona Cucina being Italian-American many things connecting her with the book and Patricia herself. Ann loved the book and she admits that the recipe for the spicy tomato sauce is now her family’s favourite. Instead of cooking something Greek, she opted for an Italian dish and made a spicy Pizza alla Puttanesca. How Italian of her!
4. Danielle of The Growing Foodie, another Italian-American, strongly connected to the book, not only because of her cultural heritage, but also because she and her boyfriend are going through a rough patch lately. She really appreciated Patricia’s writing and notes “[Patricia]writes her book in hindsight which allows you to look deeply into her life in a unique way. For instance, there are many times where you can tell looking back allows her to tell a story more comically (like getting caught nude on a Greek beach) than it was at the time. Danielle made a delicious baklava, which will hopefully sweeten her life bit.
5. Simona of Briciole, being of Italian origin herself, really enjoyed the book, especially the way it so successfully describes the importance offigura: “It’s a fundamental tenet of education in an Italian family: you are supposed to always fare una bella figura (literally, to cut a fine figure, in the sense of making a good impression), which then reflects well upon your family. The worst thing that can happen is fare una butta figura (literally, to cut a poor figure, in the sense of making a bad impression), which of course embarrasses the whole family”. During a trip to her homeland she brought back monete del Papa Christmas Lima Beans , which she cooked with some onion and thyme. Delicious!
6. Deb of Kahakai Kitchen liked the book but admits that she wanted “to grab her [Patricia] and shake her for some of her choices”. She also points out something most of us noticed that food didn’t feature that much in the book. However, being the cook that she is, Deb decided that a trendy Ouzo Sorbet would fit the bill perfectly. What a refreshing ending to a dinner!
7. Although Rachel of Crispy Cook enjoyed many things in the book, such as the translations of various Greek words and expressions, the Orthodox rituals, and the comparisons of American and Greek attitudes towards children, stray dogs, and education, sometimes she found it hard to follow the story, since it was mostly about a failed marriage and less about Greek cuisine. Rachel decided to cook Greek Fisherman’s Stew, “fit for a Harlot or Fisherman or whomever shows up at your table”.
8. Finally, I, Jo of Food Junkie not Junk Food, made beef stew in tomato sauce with a smoked aubergine puree AKA Hünkar Beğendi , a classic Ottoman dish, which was part of the cooking repertoire of the Greeks in Istanbul. If you like moussaka, I suggest you give it a try, it is really delicious!