Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: University of California Press (March 26, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #717,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #79 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European > Greek #225 in Books > Travel > Europe > Greece > General
Christopher Bakken's hybrid memoir, Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures At the Greek Table, which combines travel writing and food writing, closely inspects one of the last remaining European pastoral cultures under threat by the industrial food machine. An outsider to Greek culture, Bakken's chapters "trac[e] the circuitous route of the goat path" in order to discover not only the inherent (and subversive) values embedded in the Greek culinary tradition, but also in the very pleasures of the Greek table, in which the author revels indulgently. Bakken's cast of characters, who were instrumental in his education into Greek culture and Greek food ways, not only teach him about the traditions of the table, but also unveil the essence of life in Greece.Though his chapters are not rhetorically driven, Bakken's claim is that the history of Greece "is written in the elements of its cuisine: olives, bread, fish, and cheese. Meat, beans, wine, and honey." And to this end, each of his chapters explores one particular foundational food. These chapters pack an immense amount of information, from the chemistry of wild bread yeast, to the caramelization of onions in an island chickpea dish called revithia (because who doesn't love a chickpea!), to the viscosity of thyme honey. Interspersed between the main chapters are little recipe vignettes that are more narrative than how-to-guides offering glimpses into the ways traditional recipes reflect the agricultural values he sketches in each chapterIn one moment, on the island of Thasos, Bakken finds himself "wiping the flavor of the island from [his] chin, savoring the combination of tsipouro anise, squid juice, charcoal, and olive oil that triggers on [his] tongue the idea of Thasos.
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