Cook the Book: 'The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook'

20090109mediterranean_diet_cookbook.jpgWith a handful of feta here and a tub of yogurt there, The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook doesn't read much like a dieter's guide. If you're looking for a quick (and probably unpleasant) way to drop a dress size, this isn't it. Veteran food authority Nancy Harmon Jenkins is concerned with your lifelong health, not your upcoming highschool reunion.

Since ancient times, the Greeks and southern Italians have been consuming a largely plant-based diet, with small amounts of meat, fish, and dairy, and with olive oil as the principal fat. They've been known to pour themselves glass of wine now and again, too. And if you've read your classics, you'll know that the average Greek or Roman, providing he wasn't assassinated by the state first, lived to a ripe old age.

Conceived in a "rugged stone the middle of a long Tuscan valley", Jenkins' cookbook promotes a way of eating that has barely evolved since the Homeric epics. Her recipes draw from every country in the fertile Mediterranean region, among them Lebanese fattoush, Turkish minted yogurt soup, and honey-sweetened baked beans from Greece. We'll be sharing one with you every day this week. Michele Humes

Win 'The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook'

Courtesy of Bantam, we are giving away five (5) copies of The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. In the comments below, just tell us your favorite Mediterranean dish.

Contest will end and comments will close at 3 p.m. ET, Monday, January 19, 2009. One entry per community member. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.