Cooking to Share by Alexandra Stratou
The angle: Greek home cooking, recorded here so it won’t be forgotten
Recipes for right now: Stuffed Tomatoes, Green Beans Braised in Oil, Grilled Fish, Courgette (Zucchini) Pie, Litsa’s Orange Cream and Filo Cake, Cod Roe Dip, Fried Squid, Lentil Soup, Jam Tart
Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who is suddenly craving some real Greek home cooking.
• Who wrote it: Alexandra Stratou
• Who published it: Self-published
• Other highlights: I love (underscore, LOVE) cookbooks that feel like getting a glimpse into someone’s life in the kitchen — their thoughts, their favorite recipes, what they cook on Tuesday verses Saturday, the stories that only come up while cooking. That’s what Cooking to Share is. It’s a memoir and a recipe journal, with notes scrawled in the margins and photos tucked between the pages. It feels intimate and a little eclectic and very special.
I love the way this cookbook is organized. There are the everyday meals that Alexandra cooks again and again, no matter the season. Then she has her Sunday recipes — the ones that take a bit longer and are meant to be shared. And then she dives into recipes for special occasions, like the summer holidays, birthdays, and Christmas. Again, this approach feels natural and intuitive; it’s the way we cook.
The recipes themselves are the epitome of home cooking. They are the recipes Alexandra grew up eating and that she didn’t want to lose. Alexandra is also a trained chef, so each recipe in this book has not only stood the test of time but also the test of her own professional critique. As such, they’re a good balance of simplicity and well-considered techniques and ingredients.
I also have to comment on just what a beautiful book this is. Cooking to Share is self-published, and it’s obvious thatit’s been a labor of love. The weight of the pages makes you turn them more slowly; the loose-leaf notes tucked here and there are invitations to pause for a moment; the photographs are lush and, taken together, feel like getting a glimpse into another life. Apologies for waxing on about this, but this really is one of those books that’s as much a pleasure to hold in your hands as it is to take into the kitchen!
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Cooking to Share by Alexandra Stratou
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