Tuesday, April 26, 2005

My Big Fat Greek Cookbook

My Big Fat Greek Cookbook Posted by Hello

My mention of bean soup (see previous bloggy bit) seems to have caused a lot of mouth-watering out there –- eat your heart out Pavlov - troughs full of salival fluids are now sloshing around the globe.

Well, firstly the soup turned out great - the beans were not quite as mushy as I like them (more later) - but the kids wolfed it down except for my youngest who refuses anything if there are “green bits” present - in this case, parsley. The methane levels rose substantially in our area yesterday but that might just be a lot of hot air.

I have also been asked for the "recipe". Hmm...l o n g t h i n k...ok then.

But first I have to explain where the "recipe" comes from. This is on the one hand to entertain and inform and on the other to avoid litigation and liability if any of you try it out and subsequently die of excessive gaseous emissions.

The “recipe” is from my Big Fat Greek Cookbook which I bought in Preveza in 1984 but which harks back to an earlier more relaxed age. First of all it doesn’t LOOK like a cookbook (see photo...it doesn't does it?) - it reminds me of something you would keep a collection of stamps in. Secondly it is very much a Greek cookbook not so much because it contains recipes for Greek food but because the style is so Greek - these are shoulder-shrugging, head-waggling, maybe-maybe not recipes.

I was on holiday once on the west coast of the Peloponnese and on the horizon you could see the beautiful blue outline of an island which I assumed was Zakynthos. There was a Greek fisherman on the beach mending his nets who looked about 100 years old and had obviously lived there all his life so I decided to ask him, “is that Zakynthos?”

He squinted out to where I was pointing, shrugged his shoulders, waggled his head and said, “"maybe”".

That is the kind of person who wrote this cookbook.

There are no weights and measures in it; no grammes or kilos, ounces or pints. And there are no oven temperatures or cooking times in hours or minutes. The closest it comes to that is the equivalent of, “"cook until ready"”. Sometimes ingredients are mentioned in the list at the start and never referred to again; sometimes the description calls for ingredients which are not in the list.

It is basically a cookbook for people who can already cook! That'’s why I put "“recipe"” in quotation marks.

And now I am out of time...so the recipe will have to wait till tomorrow! You can put your beans in water to soak overnight though...

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