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Greek Salad: A Dionysian Travelogue [Paperback]

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Item Number 285803  
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Pages   283
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 4.5" Height: 7"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Ambell Press/The Wine Appreciation Guild
ISBN  1891267825  
EAN  9781891267826  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Miles Lambert, author of Greek Salad: A Dionysian Travelogue, published by The Wine Appreciation Guild and due out in June, explores Greece via its tavernas "with the utility of a travel guide and the tone of a novel," says publisher Elliott Mackey.

Lambert begins the book with a light brunch of "flaky bougasta filled with sweetened semolina" aboard a ferry headed for the island of Tinos, a member of the Aegean Islands, and once there, he's dragged on an impromptu expedition into "prehistory" lead by a tavern proprietor named Andoni and his dog Rambo. From Tinos and "prehistory", Lambert then travels through the islands, onto the mainland, and then west to the Ionian Islands, ending the final chapter in a lower-class quarter of Corfu, drinking wine out of tumblers with his cab driver.

"Greece can be a highly amusing place to navigate about in," says the author, "and I wanted to portray that neglected side of the country and people as I've found them over the years. I've often been looking through the prism of taverna wine glasses, but it's a vantage point with a lot to recommend it, not least of all because of our recent fascination with the food and folkways of Mediterranean Europe. We shouldn't stop at Provence and Tuscany when so much in those cultures originated in the age-old Aegean world."

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Cute Title  Aug 29, 2008
I purchased this book based on the reviews. The title is the best part of the book. It reads like j random blog returned by a google search on 'greek blog'. If you are trying to choose a Greek Island to visit allow me to suggest Freely's Cyclades or Eyewitness Greek Islands. If you want entertainment choose Kazantzakis or Homer. If you want a printed blog and feel the need to spend money while killing a tree, choose Greek Salad.
In Vino Veritas  Jul 29, 2008
Okay, that's a Latin phrase, and this book is a paeon to Greece and particularly to the various wines and food one can find while traversing the hills or climbing down the cellars of an inviting taverna.

Greek Salad consists of a series of travelogues about the Greek mainland and many of the islands, written over a period of years. We see Naxos and Milos, Crete and Santorini as they were before and during the time when the influx of tourists changed everything. The author is a wine expert so much of the book follows his search for authentic wines that go beyond retsina. But he also is a lover of both the ancient Greece of Homer and the recent one of Zorba the Greek. There are plenty of historical and literary allusions in the book. as well as plenty of anecdotes about taxi drivers, casual friendships, tavern owners who invite him in for a sip and all those foreign tourists one runs into on the ferry over to various islands. The author offers descriptions of the brush paths and hills, beaches and small towns clinging to the ports where the ships come in from the sparkling sea so that the reader is ready to book the next flight for the Aegean.

One of the historical tidbits I learned is that is that the Venetian influence over Greece extended to religion. On one island, half the population is Roman Catholic while the other half is Greek Orthodox.
As for food--moussaka is basically meatloaf (made of lamb, of course), with custard embellishments. There is also something called "false meatballs" --he gives the Greek name for it--that sounds like an early version of Hamburger Helper.

Cruise ships have become an important presence in the islands and a source of income for the shops and merchants that circle the harbor. However, the passengers seem to be an annoyance to the long-term visitors who abandon certain restaurants and beaches on cruise days. And the growing popularity of certain Greek islands as a "girls gone wild" hangout
may make the authentic pleasures that Miles Lambert-Gocs talks about a thing of the past.

I've just seen the movie "Mama Mia!" and the gorgeous scenery of the sleepy island set within a sparkling sea should have many a movie-goer packing his bags. This book will make a pleasant read before you depart.

An Inimitable Feast for the Palette and the Dream  Mar 26, 2006
Miles Lambert-Gócs. If ever you longed to discover Greece with a guide who knew not only the history of Greece with all the Islands included but also manifested the same gusto for life that is part of the Greek heritage, then this very fine author is the one to take you there. GREEK SALAD: A DIONYSIAN TRAVELOGUE is so full of fascinating insights into Greek history, Greek personality, and of course Greek food that is truly Hemingway's 'moveable feast.'

It is one thing to write a travelogue that points the particularly splendid aspects of a country in your direction, but it is an entirely different one that is so full of spirit and tales that it also serves as a novel. Reading this book, yes, encourages calling a travel agent post haste, but it also is such a well written piece of literature that it can be appreciated simply for the repast it provides. Lambert-Gocs is a wise, informed, ebullient connoisseur of wines and foods: he is also a sprite that opens the joys of Greece like few others. Highly recommended reading! Grady Harp, March 06
All the ingredients mix  Mar 25, 2005
A satisfying chunk of black volcanic rock never leaves my desk. I picked it up personally on the Greek island of Santorini, where steam still percolates from the ground some twenty-five hundred years after the island exploded, upending the Aegean world. You can believe my powerful paperweight is the match of even the most truculent culinary book. It has certainly helped me plumb the depths of Greek Salad, a "Dionysian Travelogue" by American wine writer Miles Lambert-Gócs. Lambert roams Greece-the Aegean islands, the mainland, the Ionian islands-in an attempt to transmit, even amplify, a taste of Greece into accessible English prose. The result-even if you can taste Greece only vicariously-is the stuff of persistent reverie.

Taken individually, Lambert's 26 vignettes could only succeed in generating dramatic tension, unless, like me, you retain taste memory of a challenging retsina from Rhodes, or the best yogurt you have ever ingested. The whole of Greek Salad, though by rights it should be at least a coffee-table book (it is a tight small-format paperback), succeeds as it satisfies. I read just yesterday that recent surveys found Greeks, both male and female, to be on average even heavier than Americans. Evidently, Greeks do a lot of eating and drinking. The way Lambert tells it, the food, the wine, the soul of Greece do not spring fully-formed from a laminated restaurant menu; they are animated by earth, sea and sky. If you find yourself in Greece, you might as well eat, and wash it down with wine that originates just a stone's throw from your table. You can work it all off in the gym on your return.

Lambert has the imagination and scope to extol both the obscure and the predictable. Nearly every American "Greek diner" I have ever turned to as refuge from the night has offered a credible mousaka, a hybrid dish Lambert examines lightheartedly in his chapter on Larissa, on the Greek mainland in Thessaly. "Mousaka," Lambert writes, "certainly cannot lay with the en croute delicacies; but on the other hand it does not sink with the fluid casseroles either. Sometimes it seems to slide in between the terrines and pâtés...However, the rarer low-built mousaka, with its slim strata, cuts nicely on the bias and, if highly flavored with sweet spices, can for all the world seem a soft, non-stick baklava." If detail is delicious, Lambert serves up a feast, even if we want to pardon the author's French.

Or ferry-hop to the Aegean island of Syros, which Lambert visits for a second, longer look after having guiltily given the island short shrift in a previous incarnation. Here Lambert is hosted by shipping magnate John Vatis, who, after having acquired a taste for chardonnay in California, has fostered a wine-culture on the island. Vatis cultivates his vines "under Israeli conditions-no water and very bad land," using elaborate drip irrigation systems combined with the best technology money can buy. At the outset, a California enologist had informed Vatis that the "official" temperatures on the island were far too hot for chardonnay. But that was before the enologist visited the island and "found himself needing a jacket on the veranda in the evening-and before John discovered that the temperature readings were taken in the daytime in a stuffy nook downtown." At lunch, John's wife Helen prepares that other food I find on Greek diner menus: "pastitsio of a quality above what even an inveterately hopeful fan of Greek dishes might imagine that pastitsio has in it" (and a far cry from my own pale experience in American eateries).

Greek Salad handily transcends the American notion of "Greek food and wine," and yet I find a strong Greco-American thread throughout the book. Lambert sweeps through Greece not only as a journalist but also as a representative of the United States Department of Agriculture, a role that forces him on occasion to visit food processing plants, consume their output, and say nice things about it. We Americans love foreign references to our homeland, and Lambert provides them, from the Greek sailors who wax fondly over their visits to US ports, to Lambert's own habitual pilgrimage from his home in Virginia to a Greek wine shop in Astoria, New York, where he crams his car trunk with viniferous products he simply cannot live without. Writers always have a choice of perspective, voice and personal character; Lambert's is one of honest immediacy. The writing is unapologetically personal, vivid, experiential; therein lies the problem, since the only meal we really get to eat is composed of words rather than olive oil and lamb. Those of us who can't quite swing a leisurely voyage to Greece had better hope PBS drafts Lambert to host a thirteen-part series soon.

Food writer Elliot Essman's other reviews and food articles are available at
Let's All Have a Great Time in Greece!  Oct 12, 2004
In "Greek Salad," Miles Lambert provides some of the expert commentary enjoyed previously in his first book, "The Wines of Greece," but in this volume lets us join him, personally, in his quest for great Greek wines in the classical and modern traditions. His witty insights and delightful references to ancient and more recent writers, from the likes of Aristophanes and Homer, through travelers on "the Grand Tour," such as Lord Byron and others, will no doubt bring a sense of keen recognition and delight to most of his readers. Authored by a master of English with a considerable command of Greek language and culture, "Greek Salad" makes me want to jump on a plane, and then catch a boat, to seek out "tavernas" of my own and experience some of the Greek places, wines, and foods our "Odysseus of the Wine Jars" so deliciously and entertainingly describes.

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