When my father died in 2015, my mother pointed to a box of his cookbooks and told me to take anything I wanted. She’s never been much of a one to use cookbooks. And she hates clutter. One of the books in the box caught my eye, its bright blue cover filled with the sort … More Arizona Highways Heritage Cookbook: Riding through History via the Mouth and the Stomach
To set the mood for the journey: In describing art/literature/photography, we English speakers are limited by our language. Other cultures, other languages contain words conveying succinctly what it took James Elkins 28 pages – or 14,000 words – to describe in “What Photography Is”. In Spanish, he could have just said, “Duende”, a word loosely … More The Armchair Traveler’s Spain: Books and Stories Guaranteed to Saturate Your Soul with Duende
I’d like to imagine Spain as it was years ago. Or maybe as it was in Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes’s immortal novel? A Spain filled with windmills and blowing dust, raggedy Sanchos, feet dragging on the dry ground, atop emaciated mules straggling behind crazed knights bedecked with tin hats and rusty lances. Cervantes’s Don … More Don Quixote and Me
Sometimes odd thoughts come to me while I’m stirring a pot of soup or crying over chopped onions. Perhaps you’ve experienced something such as this, triggered by some sort of catalyst. Like a chemical reaction, once it sparks, there’s no going back. In the latest instance of these mind games, one such catalyst appeared in … More Homage to La Cocina Española? Where are the Books?
For a long time, when I thought of Spain, Extremadura came to mind. Not the fertile fields of Al-Andalus or the craggy green mountains of Catalonia. Extremadura’s vast barrenness revealed a deep truth to me when I first saw it. I’d studied it, as well the lives of the conquistadores from Extremadura, the ones who’d … More The Rice in Spain, Not So Easy to Explain
I dream of returning to Catalonia. The last time I was there, in 2010, I crossed the border between France and Spain, and ended up about 30 miles northwest of Barcelona. I stopped for lunch at a small family-run place in a town whose name I can’t remember. The waitress wouldn’t speak Spanish, and all … More Cooking Like a Catalan, No Matter Where You Are
Standing on the edge of the cliffs in the merciless wind, I struggled to keep my unruly hair out of my eyes. A losing battle it was, for I could barely see the roiling blue water below. No trees, scrubby grass, an old whitewashed church, and a modern lighthouse. Nothing else. Sagres,* perched on the … More For Me, All Roads Lead to Spain
Sarah Rutledge’s cookbook, The Carolina Housewife, surprised me the other day. Try as I might, I could only find one recipe for pork in the whole book! “Ham Toast,” on page 75. I kid you not. “Meat” seems to be beef or veal. That’s it. Ms. Rutledge’s book did include a number of vegetable recipes, … More “To Fry Tomatoes”: Sarah Rutledge Mixes Up a Few New World Foods
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