For a few generations of Greeks, the name Tselementes has been synonymous with food. Nikos Tselementes, a well-known chef from t he island of Sifnos who lived at the beginning of the 20th century, wrote the tome that became every housewife’s cooking bible pretty much straight up through the last few years. Through his classic book he taught generations of Greek home cooks the finer points not only of traditional Greek cooking but of what was thought of through much of the 20th century as the epitome of good taste, a combination of Greek and Western European cooking that often drew upon more than a fair share of foreign dishes. For some, he was a saint for others the one person responsible for the bastardization of Greek traditional cuisine.
Regardless of one’s point of view, though, his name is as common to Greeks as Julia Child’s is to Americans.