The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Crossover Cooking: Go Greek

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on May 9, 2011

Greek Orthodox and Judaism couldn’t be farther apart theologically, but there are cultural similarities between Greeks and Jews, and we definitely love Greek food.

That’s why I was excited to make a recent discovery via my neighborhood friend Kathy. Her husband lost a bunch of weight during Lent, in part due to eating traditional Greek lenten recipes, which are vegetarian. He looks fantastic! I complimented them both and asked Kathy if she’d share some of her recipes with me, and she loaned me an obviously much-used cookbook, Popular Greek Recipes, sold (since 1957!) as a fundraiser for the Ladies Philoptochos Society of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity in Charleston, South Carolina.

This book lays out general rules for Greek Orthodox fasting, which ranges from no meat or poultry on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year all the way up to strict fasting, which is abstinence from meat, poultry, fish, dairy, shortening, olive and vegetable oil, and alcohol. (There are tons of exceptions and it should go without stating that I am not a competent religious authority in the Greek Orthodox church.)

Interestingly, shellfish is not included in “no fish” so even during the strictest fast days, boiled shellfish is eaten. (So you could “strict fast” on a lobster boil, though you would be barred from dipping it in melted butter.)

This cookbook has a large section of lenten recipes, most of which are very well suited to the Jewish vegetarian kitchen.

This really seems like the type of food Greek families eat on a daily basis in their homes. Delicious.

I also like the Greek translations of some recipes. For instance, it is more fun to eat amygdala cookies or pastries. (Thanks, House!)

You can order the cookbook from The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity directly, search for it used on ebay or Amazon Marketplace, or buy it, as I did, from the nice folks at Greek Internet Market. (They even included ouzo hard candies in my order — delicious? It’s so hard to tell with ouzo.)

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