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Tag Archive 'Spain'

It must go down among the biggest porkies a man ever told a woman – right after Christopher Columbus telling his mother he wouldn’t be long; he and a few friends were just taking their boats out for a spin. And, never has the term “farm”* been used more euphemistically than when Felipe V of […]

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“The pen is the tongue of the mind.” – Don Quixote de La Mancha I have been told that the Inuit have more than 30 words for snow and a similar number of descriptors for the myriad tones of white, blue and grey that color their environment. If desert-dwelling Arabs had a similarly nuanced vocabulary […]

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Five years in the making, and after at least six months’ meticulous planning, this was not an auspicious start. Within twenty minutes of claiming our luggage off the futuristically-plastic baggage carousel at Madrid-Barajas, and after spending the few coins we brought with us on a pair of sorely-needed cortados, we stood, incredulous and cash-less, in […]

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When the coughing and farting of the antique truck had rumbled away, between the rustlings of birds pecking grubs among the dry plane leaves, you could just make out the pop and thwack of rubber on concrete. Ascending a double flight of unusually steep stairs, past a stained glass window featuring farming folk, the squeak […]

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As an icebreaker at the beginning of the birthing classes we took in preparation for the arrival of our first-born, participants were divided into male and female groups and invited to sit together and discuss their greatest hopes and apprehensions for impending parenthood. The biggest concern of our fellow soon-to-be-parents turned out to be making […]

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The longer we live, the more we understand that our lives, especially now that we have two children, are about compromises. These are often in the form of compromising what we want to do, more or less completely, because our children are either unwilling or unable to do it. Recently though, a new kind of […]

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Barcelona’s La Boqueria is perhaps the most famous food market in the world, and the most famous of its bar/restaurants is undoubtedly Pinotxo (pee-not-cho), run by the equally famous Juanito Bayen. His immaculate sense of dress and reputation for treating his guests like family have made him and his 14-stool establishment legendary. Indeed, such is […]

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With some cookbooks, you just open them, find something that looks good and go straight into your kitchen and start cooking. Charcutería – The Soul of Spain, the new book from Jeffrey Weiss, is not that kind of book. This is partly intentional in that the book is structured in such a way as to […]

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While awake in the middle of the night, hoping like hell one’s infant will go back to sleep soon, one experiences a range of emotions, including, but not limited to, joy, frustration, fatigue, anger, sadness, despair and, with any luck, relief. And, as one sits rocking away or pacing incessantly in the inky blackness of […]

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For centuries, mankind and cuttlefish have had something of a difficult relationship, certainly from the latter’s perspective. Even prior to the development of the photographic tint known as sepia – a brownish hue that makes the late 19th century appear to have been an unusually dusty period – the ink of the cuttlefish was prized […]

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St. George, the patron saint of England, whose plucky, dragon-slaying derring-do is taken as emblematic of the English spirit, far from being a native of the British Isles, or for that matter, far from ever having come close to visiting them, was actually an adventurous squire of the modern-day country of Georgia who lived around […]

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With wine there is probably more room for personal interpretation and opinion than in any other area of gastronomy. The sheer variety of wines available from across the globe encourages this, but the reputation of the wine connoisseur and his often ridiculous descriptions of the perfumes to be nosed out of the glass makes wine-tasting […]

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“We may have lost paradise because of the apple, but we’ll get it back with cider.” – Asturian saying “Reach out your arms, as far apart as possible – one high, one low – then just bend your wrist, but do not look!”, instructed the waitress. “Oh, and beginners like you must stand over the […]

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According to British and Irish tradition, black pudding has an esteemed place next to the bacon rashers, sausage links, fried eggs, mushrooms, fried tomato and fried slice in an old-fashioned greasy spoon breakfast, but its almost complete absence from the American breakfast table is confusing, especially given our known preference towards an injection of cholesterol […]

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Almost seven years ago I journeyed from Santillana del Mar to Santa Maria de Lebaña via San Vicente de la Barquera. So many saints, so much devotion, that it was little surprise to learn that beyond the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana and through the Picos de Europe lies the hallowed ground of Covadonga. […]

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“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Hamlet Emerging from the cool interior, the scent of carved stone and beeswax mingles briefly before being overwhelmed by the perfume of orange trees, and the holy silence is punctured by the mossy gurgle of a tiny fountain. […]

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Those of you who raised your eyebrows at the very idea of lentils mixed with chocolate might be forgiven for thinking that we have lost our tiny minds, that too long around infant children, cooing and a-goo-goo-gooing, has softened our already mushy brains beyond repair. Indeed, had we not gone out on a limb ourselves […]

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Towards the end of what is, in my opinion, his finest work, Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell tells of the bitter street fighting he witnessed in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War when the delicate alliance between communist, socialist, and anarchist factions of the Republican army finally collapsed. While certainly not the bloodiest scene in […]

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Being the innate pessimist that I am, watching a small boat being knocked around like a dodgem car on the rollicking, blue-grey seas at the normally placid Jersey Shore this past weekend put me in mind of the Costa de Muerte, the coast of death, on Spain’s north-west coast, where Galician fisherman have taken their […]

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“Eat no garlic nor onions, lest they find out thy boorish origin by the smell…” -Don Quixote to Sancho Panza, Chapter XLIII, Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Sitting around the table last night with gusts of strong breath coloring our domestic atmosphere, Amy and I were considering the profound effect […]

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It is no coincidence that, in the 30 years since Franco’s death, Spanish creativity in the arts, architecture, business, and gastronomy has blossomed. It is also no coincidence that it has been, predominantly, though not exclusively, Spain’s sub-national and regional groups — who were repressed most viciously by the Fascist dictator — that have led […]

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****Ahhh, the old dippy egg automatic food p*rn shot I remember the night in Madrid Jonny and I thought it would be a good idea to do a tapas crawl after having many, many drinks. We weren’t yet at that “I’m so drunk I must shovel food in my mouth now” place, but were maybe […]

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Sadly, neither of the parents were prepared to show-up for this family portrait, but we managed to persuade some other willing citrus to be stand-ins for the occasion. One day, not so long ago, a Jamaican grapefruit with a twinkle in his eye spied a sweet and winsome-looking tangerine. A couple of witty one-liners later, […]

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Those readers who’ve been following us for a while know (and, we hope, appreciate) that we frequently put our bodies and constitutions on the line for your benefit. Indeed, some of you may remember, that during our stay in Madrid last year, one of us, quite literally, pushed himself to breaking point in this endeavor. It was […]

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It’s nearly a year now since we were in Madrid, and while during that time we’ve managed to shed some of the excess poundage we gained there, we’ve lost none of our longing to be back there. And, it’s a strange thing about longing that all your memories become more vivid, and you remember even […]

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The first time I ate pulpo a la gallega was at a very disreputable-looking food stand not far from the Estadio Balaídos in Vigo, Spain, before watching a soccer match between Celta de Vigo and Racing Santander (it finished 2-2). It was served on a slightly wilted plastic plate with a toothpick that looked suspiciously […]

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It’s widely known that humble ingredients prepared with simple techniques often produce the best dishes, and it’s becoming more widely known that this philosophy lies at the very heart of Spanish cooking – a cuisine that has, in the last five or so years, become one of the most celebrated “new finds” of foodies everywhere. […]

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Perhaps the most common, and implicitly, therefore the most popular, tapa in Spain and in Spanish restaurants world-wide, gambas al ajillo, or fried garlic shrimp, is rightfully so admired. The hot tang of garlic and red pepper flake-infused extra virgin olive oil, perfectly coating tender pink shrimp (king prawns for our UK readers), makes for […]

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As you know, we received a beautiful package from a fellow blogger in Spain and we have been slowly using all the contents in various meals. Another element of this package was a jar of Spanish Marcona almonds. These almonds are amazing on their own and taste incredibly different (sweeter and meatier) than the almonds […]

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Not long ago our good friend Nuria at Recipes Pic by Pic offered to do a food exchange with us, knowing both how obsessed we are with Spanish food and their comparative scarcity over here in the States. In return she asked that we send her some typical American products of our choice as well […]

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