The Olive and The Caper

Everything about Greek cooking appeals to me—the simple seasonings, the fresh seafood, and especially the mezedes, or appetizers, which are a big part of dining in Greece. My favorite mezedes recipes come from one book: The Olive and the Caper (Workman, 2004) by Susanna Hoffman. It's not just the delicious flavors and the good instructions; Hoffman is an anthropologist and storyteller as well as a cook, and her recipes all come with history. She tells us not only about the fashionable way to eat olives in Socrates' day (while reclining, naturally) but also stories like the one about her Cretan friend who wooed his bride with a grilled eggplant salad. I make a new discovery about Greece, both culinary and cultural, every time I open the book. —Janet Thompson, Santa Ana, California

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