cover image Yiayia: Time-Perfected Recipes from Greece’s Grandmothers

Yiayia: Time-Perfected Recipes from Greece’s Grandmothers

Anastasia Miari. Hardie Grant, $40 (256p) ISBN 978-1-78488-612-7

Miari (Grand Dishes) delivers a heartfelt paean to the “gutsy” grandmothers of Greece and their delectable culinary creations. The majority of the recipes are taken from the author’s four-month stint traveling the country, interviewing its matriarchs, and cooking at their sides. These women speak bluntly about poverty and hardship while fashioning delicious dishes, often from nearly bare cupboards. Standouts include fritters with hand-crushed cherry tomatoes and red onions, haloumi buns with dried mint leaves, and comfort food options such as meatballs in tomato sauce, stuffed cabbage, and cheese ravioli with saffron. Miari nails down recipes just enough to make them usable for home chefs, while leaving them flexible enough to reflect their sources, who are never “precious” about technique. There are also contributions from some of Miari’s “favorite Greeks working with food,” such as Spyros Agious, head chef at Corfu’s Olivar restaurant, who shares his grandmother’s recipe for spicy leeks and extols her ability to “find beauty in simplicity.” Chapters are divided into the type of eating best suited to the recipes, whether “feasting” on roast lamb with oranges or “treating” with baklava and almond cake, and stunning photography ties everything together. The grandma recipe formula isn’t new, but this is the genre at its peak. (May)