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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Greek Monk Writes Dairy-Free Cookbook

Father Epifanios Milopotaminos, an Orthodox Christian monk at the Mount Athos monastery in Greece has been in charge of cooking there for 40 years, still cooking most of the group's meal over a log fire as they've been doing for the last century.

The monks don't eat red meat, although they fish and gather seafood, and they don't use dairy either.

An article by the Associated Press's Derek Gatopoulos that I found on the site, gave some of the unusual details.

Father Epifanios already has appeared on a popular Greek cooking show, and his publisher, Synchronoi Ozizontes, says the leather-bound cookbook has sold 12,000 copies, a healthy figure for the local market.

Athens nutrition scientist Paraskevas Papachristou says books such as Father Epifanios’ get a great deal of attention because Greeks generally want to eat healthier.

Whether people actually make the recipes is another matter. Papachristou says the interest is at odds with an overall trend away from Mediterranean diets because people cook less and eat more convenience foods.

Published in April, “Cooking on Mount Athos” (so far available only in Greek) offers unpretentious, tasty recipes. Don’t expect arugula with balsamic vinegar. Rather, lots of chickpeas and bitter wild greens.

“Monks at Mount Athos don’t eat meat,” says Father Epifanios. “The word butter is never mentioned in the book, and we don’t add flour to thicken sauces. We just let the ingredients boil down.”

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