Friday, October 31, 2014

Q & A with Debbie Matenopoulos

I have been given the opportunity to review a new book "It's All Greek To Me" by Debbie Matenopoulos. It is an exciting new book with fabulous healthy recipes.
Prior to sharing the book and a select few of the recipes I tested, I'd like to share a few Q & A with you.
I will also be giving away a copy to one lucky reader. Stay tuned for more details.

“Fall for Greek with Debbie Matenopoulos” Blog Tour Q&A
What was your favorite part about putting this book together? Most challenging?
My favorite part about putting this cookbook together was gathering all of the recipes from my family and translating them into English. There is so much history in these recipes. It was very nostalgic.  My mother gave me my grandmother’s hand written recipe books that were written in Greek along with her own. There were pages that were coming out that were obviously worn by the years of being referenced time and time again. I felt as if I was holding our most valuable family heirlooms in my hands. I feel very honored that my entire family was willing to share their treasured recipes with me and allow me to share them with the world. 

The most challenging part of writing this cookbook was translating the measurements from the metric system.  That was no easy task.  As opposed to just going by a chart, I chose to personally re-measure everything just to be certain. I have to admit that this was the one time in my life I wished they had taught us more of the metric system in school.  ;) 

What 5 items are a must in a well-stocked Greek pantry?
A Greek pantry is NOT a Greek pantry without some very key ingredients. I know you've asked for 5, but there are actually 7 that every Greek kitchen should be stocked with. They are Greek extra virgin olive oil, dried Greek oregano, fresh lemons, fresh flat leaf parsley, fresh tomatoes, and onions. Combined, those ingredients and you have the base of a lot of Greek dishes. 

The Mediterranean Diet is high in healthy fats. How do you incorporate heart-healthy oils into your recipes?
It has been proven time and time again that extra virgin olive oil is the most heart healthy of all oils.  It is all I have ever used and it is all that my family ever used growing up. Although the smoke point is much lower than it is on other oils, in my opinion, it is still the best way to go when cooking or flavoring any dish. I wouldn't consider cooking with anything else. Extra virgin olive oil has been proven to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease.  As a matter of fact, one of the leading cardiologists in the country, Dr. Michael Ozner, wrote the forward to my book and in it, he discusses this very issue.  That's why he too believes that the Mediterranean way of eating that I describe in my book is the most healthy way of eating on the planet.  

What is your earliest memory of cooking/preparing Greek food?
My earliest memories of cooking are from when I was about 4 years old and are of me being in the kitchen with my mom. I was helping her stir the bechamel for the pistachio or moussaka over the stove-top to make sure it didn't get too thick.  She would pull up a stool for me to stand on and make sure to let me know that my job was very important. She would tell me that getting the pistachio or moussaka exactly right all depended on me making sure I didn't let the bechamel thicken too much.  That responsibility made me feel so important and made me so proud when we all sat down to dinner. It truly made me feel like I was an integral part in making this delicious meal. I think that's when I fell in love with cooking. 

What message would you like to resonate with your readers/home cooks?
I would like the readers of this blog and the home cooks to not only enjoy the amazing flavors of the Mediterranean cuisine of my ancestors, but also the immeasurable health benefits.  And, I’d like them to enjoy this food with their family and loved ones, because after all, food is more than just food to Greeks. To Greeks, food represents love and family.  So here’s to you enjoying the deliciousness of this cookbook with your family!! ;) 

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