NEW YORK— Prince Nikolaos and Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark visited the offices of The National Herald to talk about the Princess’ recently published cookbook, A Taste of Greece, their philanthropy, and their love of Greece. Joining the meeting with publisher/editor Antonis Diamataris, were Vanessa Diamataris, and the Princess’ head of public relations Irene Psyrra. The couple noted the street sign in Greek that caught their eye as they arrived at the offices of TNH was a welcome sight.
The conversation soon turned to Greece and food. The cookbook features classic and updated versions of Greek recipes along with the memories and comments of luminaries from a variety of fields including fashion, film, and literature. The quality of Greek food, simply prepared was noted throughout the discussion.
Princess Tatiana cooks for her husband as often as she can, using the wonderful products available in Greece year round. Prince Nikolaos mentioned sea urchin right out of the sea with nothing added is a favorite food. When asked about the book’s contributors, the Princess observed that they all had a connection to Greece and the response was so overwhelmingly positive when she approached friends and friends of friends to participate that the book could easily have been twice the size. The fact that all proceeds of the book sales go to charity, the nonprofit Boroume, was another positive factor that attracted so many well-known people to contribute their recipes and share their love of Greece.
The “well-rounded group” as the Princess called it, includes actress and author Olympia Dukakis, celebrity chef and award-winning cookbook author Diane Kochilas, Ultra Marathon Man Dean Karnazes, Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Bob Costas, and Queen Anne-Marie, formerly Queen of the Hellenes and mother-in-law of Princess Tatiana.
The hospitality and the spirit of the Greek people have impressed the couple especially in these difficult times. They moved to Greece three years ago. Princess Tatiana said she kept “an open heart and mind” and that is how the people have received her. “She’s been welcomed warmly,” Prince Nikolaos said. “I’ve always wanted to live in Greece, to return because I love Greece and she loves it.” The couple married on the island of Spetses and lives in Athens.
A talented photographer, Prince Nikolaos noted the wonderful light in Greece is another factor that drew him to live and work in the country. In terms of the economic and refugee crises, he observed it is a tragedy what has happened in recent years, but it illustrated the character of the people, the philotimo and philoxenia (hospitality), as suffering individuals opened their homes and gave bread to those in need. “It made me proud to be Greek at a time when people were looking down on us,” Prince Nikolaos said. “The people have little and they want to share it.”
For Princess Tatiana, Greece is a land of contrasts, geographically so diverse, but the people’s kindness is the constant. Nature and healthy living are important to her and in Greece, living “close to the land, close to roots, tradition, culture, family” have made an impression on her. Her international upbringing was not so deeply rooted and family gatherings rare, but the Princess noted that her family did get a chance recently to visit and enjoyed their time together.
In her welcome at the beginning of the book, Princess Tatiana mentions moving to Greece with her husband and how the move added a “new chapter” to her culinary identity. She describes Greek cuisine accurately as “simple but never simplistic, unpretentious but still seductive, and authentic but always evolving.” She also writes about the ways food and community are connected and how the lack of food causes alienation and exclusion which led to her involvement with the Athens-based nonprofit organization Boroume (We Can). All the proceeds of the sales of the cookbook go to the charity. Boroume was founded in 2011 to reduce food waste while battling against malnutrition in Greece by establishing networks to connect food donors with those in need. Boroume supplies meals and also fosters a stronger sense of community during the difficult times of crisis for those struggling to make ends meet. The motto of the charity is “Saving lives by saving food.”
Xenia Papastavrou, founder of Boroume noted in the foreword by the book’s co-author Diana Farr Louis, “I was an active volunteer at the Greek Food Bank and was wracking my brain to find a way to solve the problem of food waste. So much food was being thrown away, yet so many people were going hungry, and out crisis was in its second year already.”
Papastavrou finally came up with the idea for Boroume on her youngest son’s birthday and with co-founders Alexia Moatsou, and Alexander Theodoridis- Managing Director of Boroume, established the charity as a “facilitator” linking people with donated food within a neighborhood or nearby neighborhoods. Once the contacts are in place, the community can continue on helping people without Boroume’s intervention. According to the charity’s website, more than 5.5 million portions of food have been offered since 2011.
Princess Tatiana spoke about Yoleni’s, an online food platform featuring the best of Greece that also benefits Boroume. A great resource for everything from olive oil and honey to nuts and sweets and even beauty products, the site is an easy way for consumers to shop for Greek products and help the economy of the country. A Taste of Greece-themed gift baskets are also available on Yoleni’s website www.yolenis.com, a portion of the proceeds benefit Boroume.
A Taste of Greece is a charming cookbook in support of a very good cause. It was released on July 15 and as Prince Nikolaos mentioned, the book sold out in six weeks and is already in its second printing. The cookbook has been printed in German, French, and English with the Greek edition due out in December just in time for the holiday gift-giving season.