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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.

"50 Foods" by Edward Behr. Author photo credit: Natalie Stultz

I caught Ed Behr on the phone just as the writer was wrapping up a story about what he called, in an atypical struggle

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Photo: Cranberry Mincemeat Pies. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

An American friend living in England told me she has trouble explaining to the Brits that we don't have mince pies in the U.S. My

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Baskets of greens for sale at a market in Camucia, Italy. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

I've been reading with fascination Michael Moss' often hilarious and deeply thoughtful article in a recent issue of The New York Times Magazine. Moss

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The professore in his garden, holding up one of the cucuzza quashes he grows. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

L'orto del professore, the professor's garden, is riotous, an unruly tumult of beans and squashes, tomatoes and peppers, cabbages, kale, lettuce, cucumbers and wild

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Olives at the market with a sign indicating they are for frying. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

"X Friggere," in all caps, read the sign over the freshly picked olives on a market stall in the Pugliese town of Martina Franca:

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Jars of tomato sauce. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Tomatoes are the glory of a summer vegetable garden. Or so the books tell us. But where I'm from, whether Maine or Tuscany, it's

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Top photo: Fresh strawberries. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Strawberries! How do I love ye? Let me count the ways: strawberry shortcake, strawberry jam, strawberry pie, strawberry ice cream, strawberries and cream, strawberries

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Old olive trees in Kritsa, Crete. Credit: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Greece's agony is painful to watch. For those who know and love the country, the long fiscal battering, now in its third year, has

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