The Real Mediterranean Diet

Aglaia Kremezi and I share an interest in Fage yogurt--except hers is familial, mine obsessive.

When I went to visit the idyllic farm in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom that produces Butterworks Farm yogurt, I developed a daily addiction to two yogurts: Butterworks, which is delicate and junket-y (think fragile pudding) and has the wonderful flavor of milk from the cows the Lazor family raises; and Fage, which was then called Total--a strained yogurt, with the thick and creamy texture or crème fraîche or fromage frais. It was, and is, hard to believe that the nonfat yogurt is really nonfat, and the full-fat tastes as rich as the (in fact richer) crème fraîche.

I still go through large quantities of each kind every day, so maybe I'll live as long as Aglaia's grandmother, who prescribed a pot of yogurt and bread for supper or a late-night snack, though I have a feeling the vaunted Mediterranean diet, as eaten when it really was the Mediterranean diet, had a lot to do with her incredible longevity.

But I've long wanted to visit the Fage plant in upstate New York, to see firsthand the differences with the farm panorama the Lazors present--if anything, more rustic and picturesque than any idealized label could portray--and get a sense of why Fage's version still seems so much subtler, tangier, and better than the various Greek brands that have rushed to copy its success. Aglaia's incredible array of recipes and beautifully written memories will get me there one summer's day soon.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.

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