I love getting sucked into new books. Digging into a great story that unfolds with each turn of those crisp and sharp pages has to be one of my favourite feelings. So I was somewhat caught off guard when I had those same feelings about… a cookbook. Three nights in a row I would curl up on the sofa and grab Cyprus: Final Tastynation and turn those pages uncontrollably. Actually I should probably note at this point that Cyprus: Final Tastynation is anything but a cookbook.
As Artemis Evagorou, the author, so creatively said of her book:
You may find this book in the cookbook section. Big mistake. Huge. For this, my darling reader, is not a cookbook. This is a Cypriot tale about kings, harems, mermaids, cursed statues and rubber duckies. I’m serious, it’s all in there and it is based on true and tru-ish stories. Oh and there is a bunch of recipes in there too, just for good measure.
A good friend told me about Artemis Evagorou’s new book. She insisted I grab a copy ASAP. She knows my love for food, originality and great humour and this book has all three. It really is quite hard for me to pick just one aspect of this cookbook/history book that I love. There are just so many. It is so thoughtfully and cleverly put together, edited and displayed amazingly well. Major points for Greek and English versions within the same pages!
The recipes all originate from Cyprus. There’s standard classics such as olive bread, avgolemoni soup and mahallepi but most have a sort of twist and are based on a grandmother or aunt’s recipe. It makes you feel like you’re spying on them, stealing all their best kitchen tips and tricks from years ago. Which basically makes it awesome for people like me who haven’t grown up with a Cyprus yiayia or thia with great tasty recipes to share. The wonderfully weird recipes I absolutely adore and cannot wait to try are ones such as Brandied Spicy Figs Ice Cream, Commandaria Octopus Stew, Loukoumi Mousse and Zivania and Honey marinated Crusty Salmon. Like, seriously, who has ever thought of putting zivania in a salmon marinade?
Cyprus: Final Tastynation is also jam-packed with little cool DIYs from how to ease an ear infection with olive oil to face and hair masks and steam inhalations, all using herbs and spices found here on the island. It’s the kind of natural remedy stuff you hear Cypriots talking about but never know the hows and wheres and whens. Well now you do.
Another clever part of Artemis’ book is the Facts part about the island that include myths and the origins of superstitious beliefs. Now this part is excellent for older kids too like Georgie who insists I read one or two to him every night. Did you know that Cyprus was gifted to Cleopatra from Marc Anthony? Do you know the legend behind the Rose Damascena? And do you know where to find the best Mahallepi in Cyprus? Georgie was also particularly fascinated with the Find the Duckie part of the book which basically consists of finding the hidden rubber duck in every photo of the book. As a mama of two, Artemis has woven parenting into the pages of the book with some truly great recipes for kids such as Triantafyllo Me Gala Popsicles, Carob cookies and the proper Cypriot way to make toast aka kapira.
Cyprus: Final Tastynation is an ode to the very basics of Cypriot cuisine and lifestyle in general. Tradition is spread throughout the entire book with tidbits such as how to prepare Cyprus coffee and even ‘read it’ and how to order a frappe! It is an absolute joy to read and would make the most original and thoughtful gift for someone interested in the Cyprus culture. I am so happy to be able to feature such a fantastic and above all local accomplishment.
If you would like the chance to win a free copy of Cyprus: Final Tastynation enter our Facebook giveaway by liking and sharing this blog post! The winner will be announced next week! Good luck!
You can find Artemis Evagorou’s Cyprus: Final Tastynation from the following shops:
* Parga BOOKCENTER (22 327740 Nicosia and Larnaca)
* Μετροπόλιταν Βιβλιοπωλείο – Metropolitan Bookshop (22 669909)
* Rivergate Bookstore And Cafe (22 572722)
* Moufflon Bookshop (22 665155 Nicosia and Paphos)
* Το Βιβλιόδεντρο (22 004849)
* Skevi Afantiti – Krama jewellery Designs (22 761655)
* Phaneromenis 70 (22 663320)
* Άλλωσπως καφενείον / Allospos (96 652607 – Λεμεσός)
And of course you can message Artemis directly on Facebook for more info.