English Food The foreign life

Food as a cultural statement.

For a long time I have been thinking about starting a recipe section. I like to take pictures of food, and since I have been asked how to cook some of the dishes, I have decided to post them here. Most of them are common Spanish dishes, that I cook the same way my mom did. Others are adaptations of Italian, Peruvian or American cuisine, or even of my own making. I learned how to cook on my own, when I spent a year abroad in England, sharing a house with a Neapolitan friend. She taught me the basics of Italian cooking, and I taught myself the basics of Spanish cooking, including a killer recipe for sangría. Soon enough, our house was dinner and party central, and for the reminder of that year we often had ten people over for dinner and drinks.

Even though she never taught me how to cook, I often consult with my mom when I try to come up with ways of cooking the same way she does. Although she cooks quite well, she doesn’t like cooking that much, for her it is a necessity, not something fun and relaxing, and she is often perplexed by how much I enjoy it. I have also inherited recipes from friends, and other family members. My mother in law is a very talented cook herself, so I have some big shoes to fill.

I approach cooking like alchemy or witchcraft. Stirring a few ingredients in a pot to help them become a meal gives me a kind of peace that I don’t get any other way. It relaxes me. It comforts me. And it never fails to make me feel good. Knowing that I can feed my family, and that my food makes them happy is a plus. In Spain they say that you win a man through his stomach. I have four of those in my house, and have won them into the art of cooking. My kids enjoy prep time as much as mealtime, and we have dinner together every night, and make a point of trying for it to be homemade. That doesn’t mean we don’t order every now and then. We also love to eat out.

Food is also a great way for our family to stay in touch with our country of origin, for our kids not to lose their roots. It’s part of their cultural heritage (yes, gastronomy is culture too). And in the bottom of my heart, I hope that one day, when my kids are older, and independent, they will still want to come home, to sit at mamá’s table.

With all that said, enjoy my first recipe. Others will follow soon. As we say in Spain… ¡Qué aproveche!

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