Not much had changed over the past sixty years since the St. Irene Ladies Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Charleston, South Carolina first published their fundraising cookbook.
For decades— and sixteen editions in a row, the book was spiral bound carrying navy blue line drawings featuring the Parthenon. The scene changed with newer editions but until now, the book was the same— answer the recipes inside, hailing from the kitchens of early founders of the Greek Orthodox Church, who brought them from Greece when they arrived as immigrants.
But radical change is upon us.
After selling more than 100,000 copies and printing 16 editions, the ladies have opted for a full color cover and a switch to internal ring binding for the 17th edition of the cookbook.
“It’s a big change,” committee chair Nitsa Demos said in an interview with the Post and Courier. “We knew we were going drastic. But because we wanted this to be special, we decided to let it be special.”
As for the recipes— not much has changed from the original ones that first appeared in 1957.
Although Popular Greek Recipes isn’t the oldest Greek cookbook in the country, no other Greek American cookbook can boast such a long record of continual publication.
Two editions ago, the title was inducted into the Walter S. McIlhenny Hall of Fame, established by the creator of Tabasco sauce to celebrate community cookbooks used for fundraising with sales exceeding 100,000 copies.
Copies of the older editions are still available on Amazon. Many people actually opt for this one, according to the women of the church, just for the nostalgia.