More than fifty years later, these women just keep on cooking.
It all started with a dedicated group of Greek women in 1958, wanting to do something for their church, while simultaneously using their gifts and talents as cooks, to make a difference.
Over fifty years later, the result is one of the most popular Greek cookbooks in the nation (if not world), with tens of thousands of copies sold and a lot of financial support for their beloved Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Paul on Long Island, in New York.
More than fifty years ago, a group of dedicated women decided to write a Greek cookbook in English, something not available at the time. Due to their determination, their efforts proved to be a success, producing four books.
All the earnings from every book have been donated to St. Paul. What started out as a way was to contribute to the church’s “burn the mortgage drive”, has now been used to pay for many worthy projects in the cathedral, including two chandeliers, two large mosaics, the wonderful organ, the kitchen, and liturgy books.
Their organizational name, “Recipe Club” is a misnomer, since it was never a club, but rather a chartered group of 17 dedicated women who tested and wrote their recipes to preserve our treasured foods.
Throughout the years, all the expenses incurred to test and promote their books have been absorbed by the women themselves. Their first book called “The Grecian Gourmet” was self published, and because of the rave reviews of The New York Times food critic at the time, it became an instant bestseller around the country.
As a result, Doubleday Publishing approached the group, and they released “The Art Of Greek Cookery,” which also became a best-seller. Used copies of the book often sell on used book websites and even Amazon.
Based on that success, they wrote a follow up book called “The Regional Cuisines Of Greece”.
Since food techniques and the Greek cuisine became increasingly popular, the women decided to retest and rewrite their best recipes, which produced their current bestseller “The Complete Book of Greek Cooking” published by HarperCollins.
No one really knows how many copies have been sold
These recipes emphasize simpler baking techniques for a North American kitchen.
A true labor of love, indeed. Get the book by clicking here.
I grew up at St. Paul’s church and my parents were founding members. I remember vividly when The Grecian Gourmet came out at Craig Claiborne at the New York Times wrote the glowing review. These women were the first in the country to create a Greek cookbook. Since then many, many churches have done the same. How great to see your article about them!
Athene Landis Craig
I bought this wonderful cookbook at least 10 years ago and I love, love, love it. Most of the pages have wonderful food stains, and there are usually at least a half-dozen Post-Its serving as bookmarks. Of all my Greek cookbooks, this is the one I go to first (and then I tweak!). But please don't forget the original English-language Greek cookbook, written by master chef Nicholas Tselementes several years before. While some of his recipes aren't entirely "traditional", and he was a bit of a French-leaning culinary snob, his cookbook helped my mother teach me to cook like a real Hellinida.
My grandmother bought this for me when I got married 12 years ago. She passed away 2 years ago. I often use this cookbook and think of her. The recipes are easy to follow.