Reviewing a cookbook is one thing; reviewing a cookbook painstakingly and lovingly created by a fellow blogger whose site I had been visiting for over a year, is quite another!
I had been reading Ivy’s blog on a regular basis for a long while, with great interest; she is a serious and talented cook and her recipes include historical lore on the rich Greek and Cypriot customs and traditions. In Lebanon too we have had a Byzantine influence, a sizable number of Greek Orthodox churches and the presence of a Greek Orthodox community in the country is still palpable in some areas. I always felt that we had definite common ground. After all, Cyprus is a 30 minute plane ride from Lebanon!
Here is what I liked about this cookbook:
- It is designed as a working manual. Each recipe is accompanied by a color photograph, precise directions, an introduction with additional information and valuables tips bestowed by Ivy. The font and the text are large and clear. No eye strain here!
- The recipes are clearly from an author who knows her topic; Ivy gives the information required to make sure the recipes are successfully executed. A novice cook will have no trouble with her directions. Ivy explains in detail such sticky issues in the kitchen such as “How to know if the syrup is ready?” or “How to clean calamari”, or “How to sterilize jars for canning”and countless other essential tips.
- On a personal note, I was surprised to find that some of the recipes are almost identical to the ones I knew from my grandmother. Her recipe for lokmades, which uses potato and an orange blossom flavored syrup, for example; or shiamishi, a homemade phyllo filled with a semolina cream is identical to our tamrieh.
- This book is an excellent value, filled with valuable information for both novice and experienced cooks and the traditional Greek and Cypriot recipes are presented in a user-friendly fashion which makes them accessible to all. Excellent job Ivy!