Fresh Fridays 
March 8, 2013
Vol. V, No. 5           
Easy as Pi(e)! (Girl rolling out dough)

What do food, geometry, and the Mediterranean have to do with each other? On Thursday, March 14 we have an opportunity to explore that very question. March 14 is known as Pi Day because its short version (3/14) is equivalent to the mathematical term pi (the Greek letter π), which describes the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference. 


Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians understood the concept of pi by about 2000 B.C.E. In the third century B.C.E., Archimedes and other ancient Greek mathematicians are credited with improving on the calculations of π. And pie--that culinary chameleon that satisfies the palate equally well as a savory dish and as a sweet treat--also originated in the same region, appearing in ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman kitchens. Our contemporary world owes a lot to the Mediterranean region, which historically served as an incubator for advances in math and science, as well as culinary and cultural innovations.


Study results published on February 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine poetically demonstrate the continuing intersection of math, science, food, and heritage in the Mediterranean region. The study shows that the Mediterranean Diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by as much as 30%. The clinical trial followed nearly 7,500 people at high risk for cardiovascular disease in Spain. Researchers divided participants into three groups: one group consumed a Mediterranean Diet with added olive oil; a second group consumed a Mediterranean Diet with extra nuts; and a third group, intended to consume a low-fat diet, actually ended up consuming a "typical western diet." After about five years, the two Med Diet groups had 30% fewer incidents of heart attack and stroke than the group eating the "typical Western diet." The study also supports what other research has indicated: the Mediterranean Diet--rich in vegetables and fruits, beans and other legumes, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, and seafood--is not only healthful, but is a delicious and easy-to-maintain eating pattern.


Bring the Mediterranean Diet into your own home this Pi Day with a Mediterranean-inspired pie dish. Start with an olive oil pie crust, pizza dough, or phyllo dough. Experiment with different combinations of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and fruits for fillings. Create deep-dish, single-crust, hand, or pizza pies. Try the recipes below to get your family excited about Mediterranean cuisine AND math.

(Click on the titles or photos below to link to the recipes.)

Web links

grain of the month: quinoa
Quinoa makes a great addition to any meal. Because it is a complete protein and gluten free, it fits well into almost any type of diet. Quinoa can also be kosher for Passover!

12 great ways to use eggplant
Handheld Pies
Find recipes for your favorite pies and discover exciting new flavors in Rachel Wharton and Sarah Billingsley's book Handheld Pies with photographs by Ellen Silverman.
Win a Book! Cover of The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan book.

We are excited to announce that Fresh Fridays reader Karen Verri Gibson is the winner of our first Mediterranean Diet Pyramid Anniversary book give-away.


As our 20th anniversary festivities continue this month, we also celebrate National Nutrition Month. This means just one more reason to embrace the Mediterranean Diet and all of the nutrition and delicious ingredients that are part of this vibrant lifestyle.


We are giving away another copy of our new book, The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan. To enter, just tell us your favorite nutritious and delicious Mediterranean ingredient by commenting on our Facebook page, Tweeting us at @OldwaysPT, or emailing [email protected]. We will accept entries starting today (March 8) through Friday, March 22. We will announce our winner the week of April 1.

This recipe is inspired by the "greens" pies of Greece's Cyclades islands. If you like, you can make ten individual half-moon pies instead of one big one. Using different types of greens, or using greens in varying proportions each time you make the recipe will change the flavor and keep the recipe exciting. 
Discover the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean with this easy-to-prepare, flavor-packed pizza composed primarily of authentic antipasto ingredients found at the olive bar of your local grocery store.

Photo: Food Match 
This galette makes a nice alternative to a traditional apple pie when you're looking for something a little bit different. Play with the flavors by adding pears in place of some of the apples, dried cherries or blueberries in place of the cranberries, or using walnuts or hazelnuts instead of almonds.  
Photo: North American Olive Oil Association    
Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.   

To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:     

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)        



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Let the old ways be your guide to  good health and well-being.       



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Did you know...?

Labels of foods imported from Europe may carry one of three abbreviations: PDO, PGI, or TSG. The European Union created these abbreviations to promote, and protect names of quality agricultural products and foods.   

Protected Designation of Origin seal.

PDO (protected designation of origin) indicates that a product is produced, processed, and prepared in a specific geographical area using recognized methods.   

Protected Georgraphical Indication seal.
PGI (protected geographical indication) indicates that at least one stage of production, processing, or preparation of the product took place in specific geographical area. 
Traditional Specialty Guaranteed seal.
TSG (traditional specialty guaranteed) identifies products that have a traditional character, either in composition or means of production.