This is the story of how a dream idea became reality! A ‘Make it Grow’ project was suggested in the late l950s to raise money for the new community of St. Paul, Hempstead, NY. A small group of 20 women volunteered to write a Greek Cookbook in English, since there was none around. They called themselves The Recipe Club of St. Paul, although it was not a club at all. These women researched, tested, and retested to find the best Greek recipes. They personally absorbed the expenses involved, and agreed that any money made from the sale of the books would go to St Paul. This is true to this day! Published in softcover, something different at the time, they sent copies to various press food people, included the legendary Craig Claiborne of the NY Times. He raved about the book, and as a result, it became a great success. Doubleday Publishers approached the Recipe Club and said they wanted to publish the book under the heading The Art of Greek Cookery. In a very short time, it reached the top of the ethnic food books category. It sold so well, they asked the group to write another book, which they called The Regional Cuisines of Greece. That book took some of the basics into new foods, many unknown to the general American taste buds. As one point, the Recipe club wanted to redo the two books to incorporate some newer preparation methods, (like using a food processor) and amending some of the recipes to fit culinary dietary guidelines.
With that goal, they went to Harper Collins Publishers, and their current book was published: The Complete Book of Greek Cooking. Recipes were all retested again and again, and a wonderful array of updated information was included. This current book is available as a hardcover, a softcover, and an E Book. It can be purchased in bookstores, online with Amazon and through the St. Paul’s parish.
It is hard to believe that this dedicated group of women managed to make such a mark on Greek food. Many others have followed, with their own success stories – books and articles.
Book Club participants are overjoyed that they have helped promote the value of our wonderful Greek cuisines not only to Hellenes and Philhellenes, but around the world. They are also thrilled to be able to continue to support their beloved community of St. Paul’s, Hempstead, NY. with all of their earnings.
Katherine R. Boulukos is Chairperson, Recipe Club of St. Paul.