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Nancy Harmon Jenkins is a recognized expert on Mediterranean cuisines and the Mediterranean Diet, out of which has evolved her deep interest in regional food systems. She is a food writer and journalist, with numerous books and articles to her credit, including “Virgin Territory: An Exploration of the World of Olive Oil” (Houghton). Her other food books include “The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook” (Bantam), “Cucina del Sole: A Celebration of the Cuisines of Southern Italy,” “Flavors of Puglia,” “Flavors of Tuscany” and “The Essential Mediterranean,” examining a dozen foods key to understanding Mediterranean cuisines. A former staff writer with The New York Times, Nancy continues to contribute to the Times in addition to writing for The Washington Post, Saveur, Food & Wine, the Wall Street Journal and other national and international publications. She is currently working on “The Four Seasons of Pasta” (Viking), with her daughter Sara, chef-owner of Porsena Ristorante in New York City.

Jenkins has lived and worked throughout the countries of the Mediterranean, at various times making a home in Spain, France, Italy, Lebanon and Cyprus as well as in Hong Kong and England. She now divides her time between a Tuscan farmhouse, where she makes her own olive oil, and a home on the coast of Maine where she was born and raised. In Italy, Jenkins conducts weeklong seminars on the culture and cuisine of extra-virgin olive oil. (In 2014, these will take place in Puglia in the autumn; plans are afoot for programs in Sicily in the spring.)

Jenkins frequently conducts lectures and workshops about various aspects of the Mediterranean Diet, especially olive oil. You can read more of her writing on her site, nancyharmonjenkins.com.

Despite a bad harvest, plenty of quality olive oils are still available if you know where to look. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Sun, Sea & Olives: By now, lovers of extra virgin olive oil have heard the unhappy news of this season's harvest in Italy, Spain,

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Lentils. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Sun, Sea & Olives: The end-of-the-year celebrations in Italy last from Christmas Eve all the way to Epiphany on Jan. 6, when La Befana

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Sausage and squash are a nice flavor combination for a Thanksgiving pasta dish. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

I will confess right from the start that I've never been a big fan of Thanksgiving. Call me Scrooge if you will, but I've

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Bottles of olive oil. Credit: iStockPhoto

I brought a jug of dark green Sicilian olive oil, freshly pressed from a friend's farm, back to my home in the hills along

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Mussels. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

When I was growing up in Maine, mussels were poor folks' food, an archetypical trash fish. Searching old New England cookbooks, you'd be hard-pressed

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Jars of tomato sauce ready for the winter pantry. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Once September turns the mid-month corner, nights start to get darned chilly in Maine. By the end of the month, we've already come close

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Spaghetti with Sun-Burst Tomatoes. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Sun, Sea & Olives: Forty years ago, I took my young family to live in the hill country between Tuscany and Umbria, Italy. Our

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Walnuts. Credit: iStockphoto

Sun, Sea & Olives: The feast of St. John the Baptist, is a date laden with folklore and myth, like all those associated with

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