"We have more reasons to love each other based on our common humanity than to victimize one another because of any difference."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Food. No soy tiquis miquis

There is just no way around it. I love food. I love trying new foods, blending different spices, combining new flavors, cooking food, smelling food, tasting food, baking food, stirring, chopping, sautéing, slicing, dicing, mixing, frying, steaming food. And the food in Spain has lived up to all expectations.

I believe there is a very special relationship between what we eat and who we are. Food is the most important, quintessential, foundation of our survival and over the centuries it has developed into so much more, a past time, a pleasure, and an enjoyment.

One of my favorite things about culture is the distinct and regional dishes. I love trying somewhat out of the ordinary dishes. In Mexico I went out in search of cow brain, tongue, and intestine tacos, cow stomach soup, and ….no the cow utter tacos found me. Here in Spain I’ve been exposed to all sorts of different sea foods, types of lobster only regional to Cataluyna, muscles, crawdads, shrimp, squid, cured meats, black sausages, exotic fruits, like Ehirimoya and special types of tomatoes.

I firmly believe in growing your own food (when possible), cooking your own meals, and thoroughly taking the time to enjoy the food you make.

One of my favorite activities with Pilar happens in the kitchen. She brings back whole squids and teaches me how to cut and clean them. On Monday is Pilar's Saint Day. So it's a big deal and we started cooking yesterday in preparation for it. The piece de resistance of this sure to be delicious meal is stuffed squid. The inside is stuffed with pieces of squid, shrimp, hard boiled egg, and foie gras. I take pictures of the different steps of the recipe and write little notes, names of ingredients, and commentary in my little books. “Un juevo duro para cada calamar. Frie las patitas y gambas en aciete”.

I now have recipes for Paella, chicken broth, stuffed eggplant, croquetes, stuffed squid, Tortilla Espanola, baked fish with lemon, meatball and mushroom stew, various pastas, and a lemon chicken.

I'm looking forward to returning to the US to cook for my family and friends some of the traditional dishes here. I think that any exchange of culture brings us closer together and allows us to understand people better. But, if my brother was here...he would starve. There is no way he'd go for some of the things put on his plate.