It is a grand and noble task to round up Greek and Mediterranean cookbooks that would be approved by a yia yia. In Greece, grandmothers rarely follow step-by-step instructions in the kitchen.
Certainly a woman with a name like Cleopatra Papadakis isn’t going to measure out 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and she certainly isn’t adhering to a “dash” of garlic. No, she’s throwing together spanakopita by memory, and if the rare lapse occurs, she has a stained, sun-damaged piece of paper written in chicken scratch with discombobulated directions.
The following cookbooks are some of the most authentic options for tried-and-true Greek and Mediterranean recipes. All include the standard fare: mezzes like tzatziki or vampire-repellent skordalia (a garlic and potato dip), horiatiki salad (think a Greek “village salad,” which will never have lettuce, so don’t even think about buying some) and more complicated options. There are holiday staples: tsoureki Paschalino (Easter bread) and paidakia (marinated lamb chops).
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