Regional News: Utah
Eleni Saltas Debuts Cookbook: All You Can Greek
By Giuliana Harris
What started as a blog and a major social media presence, quickly evolved into a hardcopy cookbook. Eleni Saltas, from Utah, just completed her cookbook All You Can Greek and has released it for purchase. Saltas, a fourth-generation Greek-American, spoke with me after the release and shared with The Hellenic Journal how the Greek culture and her love of culinary came together. “I started my blog in 2016 because I wanted to teach everyone – not just Greeks – how to live healthy and balanced lives,” she shared, “I’m a full-time personal trainer, so my blog actually began with sharing health and fitness tips, and then I started sharing my favorite healthy Greek recipes.” With a love for health and wellness, Saltas also has a passion for the outdoors: “I believe health and fitness are important, so I like to get out as much as I can – especially with my dog Ajax,” she stated.
While Saltas has been blogging for three years, she has garnered quite the online following. On Instagram alone, she has over 9,000 followers. Her posts range from photos of delicious foods, to her travels to Greece, to endearing photos and video clips with her Yiayia. When asked about the inspiration behind her culinary trajectory as a whole, Saltas was quick to give credit to her mentors. In reflecting on her inspiration, Saltas first detailed: “There were so many people who altogether impacted me in some way whether I knew it at the time or not. My Aunt Mary Saltas Mannos, who at 95, taught me how to make loukoumades, started it all.” Next up? Saltas’ Yiayias. She continued, “Both of my yiayias of course. I do something with my Yiayia Stella Saltas every week. Sadly, I’m only now sampling my Yiayia Helen Patsuris Metos’ recipes, because she passed away when I was six. Between those three women, I am happy I can keep our family’s recipes and traditions alive.”
In fact, when creating her cookbook, Saltas took away not only a wealth of knowledge with the family recipes, but pure, quality time with her Yiayia Saltas. She described, “Creating a cookbook allowed me to spend more time with my Yiayia Saltas – in the kitchen, on phone calls, and through texts. Even if I knew how to make a dish, I would still reach out to her about how she would go about it.”
In describing All You Can Greek, Saltas rounds out the book with great personal narrative. “Readers will find traditional Greek recipes and my stories behind them, mixed in with pieces on life, friendship, and travel,” she said. Continuing, Saltas added, “I know it’s unusual to see a cookbook that has chapters on Greek beaches and monasteries, but I believe everything is interspersed with food, so I felt compelled to blend them all together.”
When asked about some of her favorite recipes she placed in her cookbook, Saltas touched on the spicy! “My favorite recipes are spetzofai (spicy sausage and peppers), tyrokafteri (spicy feta dip), and bouyiourdi (spicy baked feta),” Saltas said. She shared further: “All three dishes can be made mild or spicy, based on your own spice meter – my own spice meter is quite high. The most popular on my blog, and probably in the book, is my yiayia’s orzoand my mom’s rizogalo (rice pudding).”
Are you hungry yet? I am.
In all seriousness, Saltas has felt her culture as a major impact, even outside of cooking. “Being a fourth-generation Greek-American, my Greek culture is something I’ve always clung to. Church, sports, traveling to Greece for Ionian Village, and social events have opened my eyes to different people and ways of life, and it’s something I’m especially proud of,” Saltas detailed.
Eleni Saltas has done a wonderful job of preserving her family’s legacy and taking on the role of sharing it with her community. Brava Eleni, and kali orexi to all who try her recipes!
All You Can Greek is available for purchase on Amazon (US, UK, and Canada). For more information, visit elenisaltas.com or search “All You Can Greek Eleni Saltas” on Amazon.com
Follow Eleni on Instagram @eleni_saltas
Email the author: Giuliana