13 12 2011

Hello everyone!

We have a winner for CTB “Harlot’s Sauce”. Below you will find Patricia’s email:

Dear Cook the Books Book Club:

Many thanks ─ many, many ─ for choosing Harlot’s Sauce as one of your selections. I was honored. I truly delighted in reading all the comments about the book. They were all carefully thought out and well-expressed, and the range of opinions was very educational to me as the author.  Most importantly I soooo enjoyed the recipes. Yum. Some were very creative responses to the story. I’ll have you know I tried each one, and they were all so good that I posted every one of them, along with your blogs and the pages on which the recipes can be found on my author website. If you’d like to see that, they are at this page below:


This is a subpage of the “About Patricia” tab called “Recipes by Me and My Readers.” A number of readers have sent me recipes and photos of their own versions of  pasta puttanesca, and I’d have them all up on my site at one time or another. But at no time has any group come up with such varied and unique recipes inspired by this book. That’s why picking a winner for this was extremely difficult.


I loved Foodycat’s “Tisane” for digestive problems, and laughed at her descriptions of food as punishment, as manipulation and control, because she was absolutely correct, and it’s the first time it’s ever been pointed out in a review. Vital part of the story, that.  Anyway, since the old Patricia spent so many years with an upset stomach, boy, oh boy, I surely could have used a good tisane back in those days.


Or at least, a great deal of Kahakai Deb’s ouzo sorbet.


The play by Deb on my drunken evening spent with the flying cockroaches by making that ouzo sorbet was terrific, I thought, as was Eliot’s and Ann’s idea of pizza because of the fact that Patricia and Gregori bonded over pizza.  Jo’s idea to make a version of moussaka made by Greeks from Istanbul celebrated the blending of cultures theme that’s discussed throughout the story and I thought her idea was also brilliant. Also, I’d never tasted this dish, so I was anxious to try it. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. 


A point of interest for some of you might be that the original version of Harlot’s Sauce had much more description of Greek life in it, and a great deal more about food in it, along with a number of recipes, one of which was a version of lasagna that I made just for my Greek husband because, as you know, he didn’t like the Italian tomato sauce. It was much like a combination of traditional lasagna and a Greek pastichio. He loved it, my grandmother’s husband (Grandpa Sal II) loved it, but my sister hated it, and was rather miffed that I even dared call it “lasagna.”  (Time for that tisane again.) However, when the book went to the publisher most of the food stories, the Greek life stories and the recipes were edited out so the book wouldn’t be as long, and I always thought that was shame. But the editors saw this book as mostly a women’s empowerment story and therefore perceived those stories and recipes as “filler.” In fact, this is the first group that seemed to enjoy those parts of the book more than the main idea which was the character’s development as an individual, and I’m thrilled about that, because frankly, those were the parts of the past I most enjoyed writing about . Perhaps now I’ll put some of those combo recipes that were unique to my life back them on my website, since you’ve all inspired me again.


So which recipe to pick as a winner? Let me tell you ─ this was tough. I focused on the recipes that had some real creative thought put into them based on things taken from the story. Both versions of the pizza intrigued me, because they were created just because of the story, but as it was pointed out by both Food Junkie Jo and my son, Niko, (who at 24, now knows how to cook very well, FYI ─ you should taste his salmon pasta with vodka cream sauce sometime) the hummus is really not Greek. So that left the pizza puttanesca at first place. For me, it was because it was a new take on the recipe for which the book is named, which is usually only used for pasta.  And let me not forget the fact that it’s  because it was also delicious.


But then, there were those beans. Hmmm. That cook wondered if I still hated beans. Well, frankly, they’re usually just not to my liking. (Except for cold fava blended with olive oil. That is just amazing.)  Everyone in my family said it wouldn’t be fair not to try making the beans according to Simone’s recipe, just to see if I’d like them. So, though we didn’t get the exact beans Briciole made, they were close enough. My son cooked the beans for us,  and ─ my goodness ─ were those beans marvelous. I’m not sure if it was the thyme that did it or the type of bean we used but either way, I have a new appreciation for legumes. A miracle.


So we have a tie for first place: Pizza puttanesca and Christmas lima beans, with ouzo sorbet in second place. Yes, I know I was supposed to choose only one. It couldn’t happen.

Jo says no one really wins any prizes other than the mention of ‘Winner’ on their food blogs, but I would love to offer to anyone who participated one of my other two books, The Diva Doctrine or Tales From the House Band. If you think you’d like a copy of either of those, please send me an email and I’ll be happy to mail it out to you. I’m sorry to say that neither have any food in them.


Once again, many thanks for reading and cooking, Harlot’s Sauce. I hope our paths cross again.


Warm regards and best wishes for happy holidays,




Congratulations to our winners and thank you again Patricia for your offer, I will definitely take you up on it!

Have a great holiday everyone!






7 responses

13 12 2011

Congrats to all and I am renaming my pizza “Greek-Inspired Pizza with Not-Greek Hummus”! 🙂 I am dying to try Ann’s Pizza puttanesca. Looking forward to the next round.

13 12 2011
Alicia (Foodycat)

The pizza puttanesca did look delicious!

14 12 2011
Ann Casolaro Minard

Wow Patricia I can’t believe you tried each one how awesome is that!

14 12 2011

Thank you so much, Patricia, for the insight not only in your judging process, but also in the life of an author. I am of course delighted to have had a small part in giving you a new appreciation of beans 😉

15 12 2011
Rachel @ The Crispy Cook

Congratulations to our latest winners Simona and Ann! I will add your link to our pantheon of Cook the Books winners. And thank you to Patricia for serving as our guest host and to Jo for her hosting of this last round.

18 12 2011
Patricia Volonakis Davis

Hope everyone has happy holidays. Looking forward to reading more of your recipes!

19 12 2011
Deb in Hawaii

Congrats to Simona and Ann! I am proud to be in second place to these two fabulous dishes. 😉

Thanks Jo for hosting this round and to Patricia for her judging and kind words. 😉

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