About Lulu

Some years ago, I met my best friend, Zoe, who is from Greece, although she lives in the States, and her mamá.  Zoe taught me to cook Greek food, which totally changed my cooking and a lot of my eating.

Greek cuisine often uses just a few complementary flavor items in each dish.  Here’s an example: extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, fresh dill.  This keeps the cook’s job easy and the flavors clean and bright.  For a busy person who loves good food there is nothing better.  The health benefits of a Mediterranean diet are legendary, and I’m happy about that, but mostly I’m in this for the deliciousness.  :-) That said, I eat a much wider range of vegetables than I used to, and enjoy them more cooked the Greek way.

Like most Americans, I did not grow up eating a well-defined cuisine.  My mom is a good cook, and we ate well, but our meals were derived from a chaotic mix of sources: a norwegian recipe here, a few german recipes there, pizza, lasagna, shake-and-bake, and lots of hot dishes.  There’s nothing wrong with this, but it left me vulnerable to the throw-everything-in method of cooking.  Typical exchanges I used to have with my Greek friends:

  • Lulú: This is really good.  It would be even better with garlic.
  • Zoe:  No, we don’t put garlic in this.
  • Lulú:  Why not?
  • Zoe:  It doesn’t need it.
  • Lulú: But wouldn’t it be better with garlic?
  • Zoe:  No!

Or…

  • Lulú:  This is really good.  It would be even better with mushrooms.
  • Mamá: Eh, then pai. (They don’t go.)
  • Lulú:  Why not?
  • Mamá: They just don’t!

Or…

  • Lulú: This is really good. It would be even better with…
  • Mamá and Zoe: No!!!
  • Lulú: Just a little basil?
  • Mamá and Zoe: No!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still just as creative as I want to be; if I want to alter a recipe, I will.  But my creativity is more focused now that I’ve had the experience of cooking within a particular tradition.  And what a tradition it is!  I hope you get as much out of these recipes and techniques as I have.

Kali oreksi!

31 Comments »

  1. Comment by maria verivaki

    I really love this conversation, sounds so much like how my parents felt about New Zealand food!

  2. Comment by lulu

    Heh! Thanks for visiting, Maria!

  3. Comment by maria verivaki

    hi lulu, i am soon going to publish a post in about olive pate, a relatively new invention in terms of ways to use olives (i won’t be saying too many positive things about it). i will be mentioning this page of yours in particular, because it pinpoints so exactly what greek cuisine is like. would you like me to send you a copy of the post before i publish – i think you will like what i have to say.

  4. Comment by lulu

    Hi Maria, I’d love for you to send me a copy of the post. I’ll be very interested to hear what you say about olive pate…I get the impression your opinion may be similar to mine, but I’ll save my thoughts for comments after you publish.

  5. Comment by maria verivaki

    thanks for replying so soon – i can get the draft finished tonight, and I’ll send it to you asap

  6. Comment by lulu

    Maria, my email is lulu at mamastaverna.com. Putting up a contact page is still on my to-do list. :-)

  7. Comment by Sam Sotiropoulos

    Lulu,

    I loved your little explanation of how you got into cooking Greek food! I could not agree with you more!!! Thanks for adding me to your blogroll, I will be adding you to mine shortly.

    Be Well,

    Sam Sotiropoulos

  8. Comment by lulu

    Thanks Sam!

  9. Comment by Ivy

    Hi Lulu and thanks for visiting my site. I was planning to visit your site from last week when I saw Sam mentioning you but I had a really busy week that I am apologizing all over the blogosphere for not visiting everyone. I will be back to read all your posts thoroughly and I shall definitely add you to my blogroll. I am impressed only by reading the titles of the food you prepare.
    Bye for now,
    Ivy

  10. Comment by lulu

    Hi Ivy! I personally can’t even keep up with cooking and writing, so I have to limit my visiting too. I doubt anybody thinks you need to apologize. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Comment by kat

    Funny conversations. Unfortunately, when cooking something non-Greek, I find that Greeks love to add things with or without (and in spite of) your opinion. Kali tyxi!

  12. Comment by lulu

    Hi Kat! “in spite of” yes! :-)

    Your blog is a wonderful resource. I just went over and spent too much time reading stuff. I have to get to work, but I’ll be back!

  13. Comment by Ivy

    Hi Lulu,
    I tried to find an e-mail to contact you but as I didn’t could you please contact me at recipesandadvice@gmail.com and give me your e-mail.

    Thanks,
    Ivy

  14. Comment by maria verivaki

    hi lulu, thanks for mentioning me on blogher!

  15. Comment by lulu

    Maria, my pleasure!

  16. Comment by maria verivaki

    yellow onion skins, i hope? red definitely doesnt work. i found some yellow onions and will be testing them next week…

  17. Comment by lulu

    I used yellow onions. They made the eggs brown, so I was thinking of trying red onions. I’m sorry to hear they don’t work. I’d sure like to find a natural color that does work.

  18. Comment by maria verivaki

    something to do with the chemistry of the egg shell and the natural dyes we use…

  19. Comment by lulu

    Oh, chemistry!

  20. Comment by maria verivaki

    hi lulu
    yes, i certainly would like to raid some of my neighbours’ gardens, especially in the village where our orange trees are.
    i have updated the post on the courgette flowers to include more info about organic and local produce – i thought of it as i re-read my writing. i think you will be interested in what i have written, so you might like to click on the link again.

  21. Comment by lulu

    Maria, I will do that right now.

  22. Comment by maria verivaki

    hi lulu – yes, those snails were definitley stowaways so that means you can eat teh ones you find in your garden!

  23. Comment by Lulu

    Good to know, Maria, thanks!

  24. Comment by maria verivaki

    capers grow wild here – i didnt realise you could buy seed, but they make attractive flowers when in blossom. trouble is, they are covered in thorns.

  25. Comment by maria verivaki

    absolutely lulu, re the anonymous comments – i still feel i must allow them, becauase anyone who writes something (or even just says it sometimes) must be open to the criticism of others and face it in the brave way they only know…
    thanks for the comment, as i think it proves the point i was trying to make.
    my recent kentucky post caused a little stir among americans who think the obesity problem is a myth – i thought that by posting such an article, i was helping to DISPEL the obesity myth; again, they didn’t get it…
    ciao, and happy summer holidays
    MARIA

    maria verivaki’s last blog post..CooksRus: Pizza cookies (?? ?????? ??????????? ?????)

  26. Comment by Eleni

    Bravo LuLu… very interesting site and you have quite a marvelous selection of greek edesmata… very good the site organization with interchanging the two languages
    eleni

  27. Comment by Sandy

    Lulu – do you have a cookbook that you sell? If not you should and I would definitely buy it.

  28. Comment by Maria Themistocleous-Frey

    I love it, Lulu! Keep up the great work! I have similar conversations with my in-laws…oh what joy! Also, Is there a way to sign up for your updates? I tried to subscribe but got error messages…? Thanks!

  29. Comment by Lulu

    @28 Maria – Thanks for the heads up regarding the error message. I’ve neglected this blog dreadfully, but I’m hoping to start updating again soon. Which means I’d better get whatever-it-is fixed!

  30. Comment by Kitoula

    ???? ??? Lulu! I just discovered you! I am also part of the Foodie Blogroll community!

  31. Comment by Kitoula

    Tried to post “Yeia sas” but the Greek letters turned into “???? ???”

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