New Greek cookbook carries on 35-year tradition


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Despina Echevarria, left, and Stephanie Zavitsanos love the new cookbook.

Photo by George White

At long last, there’s a new version of the long-beloved cookbook put out in 1980 by members of St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church, this time also including recipes from Russia, Serbia, Croatia, Spain and Romania.

“Taste of Greece and Beyond…” is published as a charity fundraiser for the local chapter of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos society, established nationwide in 1933.

“This has been 35 years in the making,’’ said society president and church administrator Despina Echevarria. “It’s a deep feeling for us. Those women were resourceful. They built a community center based on their cooking. This is an honor to bring some of their recipes, but we also recruited other nationalities that go to our church. They are Orthodox, but they are from different countries. We have them mixed in. We don’t have a separate section. In essence, every culture has their foods that they enjoy and share as a communal thing. We didn’t want them to feel excluded,’’ she said.

The introduction to the 300-recipe cookbook explains about the mix of its 75 contributors. “As ethnic cultures expanded across the borders of far away lands, so did culinary innovations expand into the cuisines of those distant countries. Food tells us a great deal about a country’s history.”

The process actually started four years ago but the publisher was chosen about a year ago, Echevarria said. A total of 1,000 cookbooks were printed with proceeds going to five local charities.

Stephanie Zavitsanos served as cookbook committee chairwoman, taking over for the late Mary Manatos.

 “I took over in honor of her. So many people came through with recipes,” she said.

The convenient loose leaf, three-ring binder cookbooks cost $25 and can be ordered for an additional $7 for shipping.

For more information, go to saint-katherine.org/philoptochos or call 321-254-1045.