Greek Jewish cooking is the product of Jewish life in four great empires. The Jews have lived in Greece for over 2.000 years as one succeeded another: the Alexandrine, the Roman, the Byzantine, and the Ottoman. From each they took something and made it their own. Beginning in the 15th century, Jewish exiles from the expulsions of Spain and Portugal and, later, from the violence of eastern Europe, came to Ottoman ruled Greece and created one of the greatest Jewish cities in history. Salonika reigned as `Queen of Israel` for over four hundred years, until it fell victim to the Nazi Holocaust. What remains today in Greece are the memories of survivors from the last generation of Salonika`s reign and of 2.000 years of Greek Jewish life.
The recipes for the Cookbook of the Jews of Greece were painstakingly gathered from these survivors in retirement homes and family homes throughout Greece by the director of the Jewish Museum of Greece, Nicholas Stavroulakis.
He has brought his own varied background to bear on the cookbook`s creation. His family is of mixed Cretan, Jewish, and Turkish origins. He is an artist and a cook. He has exhibited widely in Europe and the United States and has illustrated numerous books. After being educated in Great Britain and the United States, he taught at Tel Aviv University before returning to Greece to become the director of the Jewish Museum in Athens.
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