The Mediterranean Diet as an American health concept has been around for some years now. Recommended by many doctors, it extols the virtues of traditional food combinations that might be found in that widespread and sunny region. Yes, there are many vegetables, olive oil, and sometimes unusual grains involved, but there are also pizza and pasta as well as many varieties of seafood, tasty meats and even moderate quantities of wine. What this book’s recipes do not include are dominating ingredients of fatty cheeses and meats. Flavor is paramount, and Nancy Harmon Jenkins’ The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook offers the richness of traditional regional flavors with enough gourmet flair to satisfy an adventurous cook.
Though the dishes are not difficult to reproduce many do require access to unusual ingredients, but our larger, more diverse grocery stores should be able to supply those needs. Even so, many recipes such as Skewered Shrimp with Garlic, Lemon, and Olive Oil and Fassolada (Greek White Bean Soup) are perfectly doable with even limited supplies. Jenkins has created a cookbook that should intrigue the palates of experienced cooks and travelers without making the directions so complicated as so as to discourage novices.It
doesn’t hurt that the layout of the book is lovely and the writing is quite conducive to understanding something of the Mediterranean’s food cultures. These recipes are not just drawn from Italy and Greece. Moroccan, Provençale, Turkish, and Lebanese cuisines are also represented. Flavors that may be exotic to American tastes are recreated lovingly and simply for enjoyable exploration. The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook is really two volumes in one—a cookbook for the curious chef as well as a guide to healthier eating.