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Flavors of the Mediterranean
“Food is integral to the effusive hospitality which is imperative everywhere in the region and has been since ancient days when Abraham ran to slaughter a calf for the Lord, and Odysseus embarked on his famous house-tour of the Mediterranean. Flavors are robust and clear, unfettered by complicated sauces and heavy dollops of cream and butter. Home cooking is dominant as hautes cuisines bow before the traditional genius of the home and hearth.
The land’s bounty, nurtured by the gentle climate, is reflected in the primary role vegetables play in dishes throughout the region. Onions, garlic, and tomatoes, surrounded by olive oil, begin many dishes. Eggplants abound, as do squashes, peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, artichokes, okra, and various greens and lettuces. Legumes too are ubiquitous: lentils, chickpeas, fava beans in Egypt, green beans in France, white kidney beans in Tuscany. Fresh herbs include rosemary, basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, fennel, and oregano.”