Mom’s Cooking

I admit, I get territorial sometimes about Spain. I know, you’re thinking, “That girl? She seems rather disparaging. Most of the time.” Yeah, yeah, I gotcha. It’s just that we all love to hate on what we love. Does that even make any sense? But when I’m in the U.S., I don’t mind spouting off about the things that really get my goat, and here, I’m the same. Nevertheless, I’m going to make an effort to defend something about Spain—the food.

If you like Spanish food, if you’ve had good Spanish food, you’re probably scratching your head thinking, “Hrrrrwhat?!” Me too, friend, me too. It’s just that I read numerous other conversation assistants’ blogs and sometimes they comment on the food. I admit, my curiosity is always piqued by that subject. (Stomach rumbles loudly.) It’s not that I am always hungry, but I like food – shopping for it, cooking it, smelling it, tasting it, savoring it. Everything about it is just what the doctor ordered. Luckily, we’re supposed to eat 3 times per day. (Plus snacks!)

So, when I hear someone say, “I haven’t been that impressed by Spanish food,” my heart sinks. Really? What food have you been eating? I’m going to venture a guess that you don’t have a Spanish suegra, now do you? Suegra means mother-in-law, but you can use it even if you’re not married, so I do. Just to keep things simple. My Spanish mother-in-law’s name is Pepita, short for Josefa. She is about 5 foot nothing and quintessentially Spanish. She worries constantly about Mario and me “catching cold” or wearing the sufficient amount of clothing to combat the elements. She cooks constantly, and can usually be found in the kitchen, the phone clenched between her ear and her shoulder, chopping carrots for her menestra.

And her cooking? Yeah, it’s phenomenal. Let me just put it out there for you. Start drooling now:

  • Pollo guisado—a type of chicken that is so, so savory and delicious)
  • Lentejas
  • Patatas a la importancia—literally, “important potatoes,” and I fail at trying to explain them
  • Fried dippy eggs
  • Tortilla—no explanation needed
  • Cream of zucchini soup that is to die for
  • Goat cheese stuffed red peppers
  • Cheese bread. And yes, my mouth is literally watering now
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese crostinis
  • Dulce de membrillo—a sort of jam made with quince, and with Manchego cheese, it is the best dessert/appetizer/meal ever
  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • All sorts of steaks, made to perfection
  • Lomo adobado
  • They make their chorizo (sausage kinda) and salchichón, which is the best I’ve ever had. No joke.
  • Mushrooms in cream sauce
  • Garbanzo bean stew that they eat on Fridays for Lent
  • All sorts of cookies (called biscuits in British English)
  • Croquettes
All of these dishes? Made to perfection. I am seriously hungry now. Too bad it’s only 11:25 AM and lunch isn’t for another 3 hours.
I guess I just want to say – hey, fellow Americans, the food in Spain is good. If you go to a bar, you get bar food. But Spanish mamás? Yeah, they cook good.
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18 comments

  1. Thank you for the post! Your suegra is glad to know you like her food. She would be delighted to read it. But, alas, she’s quintessentially Spanish and can’t speak English.

  2. You couln’t be more right. Any spanish mum would be a michelin chef in many restaurants all over the world. You should try mine , Kaley. My favourite restaurants is her!

  3. My grandmother was Spanish, and whenever people start talking about Spanish food not being tasty I can only say, “Have you ever tried Spanish food?!” Granted, it varies by region quite a bit, but I still can’t understand this. Spanish food rocks my face off. (Except for grandma’s pansa — sheep stomach. That. was. gross.) ;)

    1. Wow, I’ve not had pansa! Don’t think I’d be up for it, either. I admit to not loving fish, but sometimes it’s just perfection.

  4. I just finished eating a Tortilla and was thinking how I managed to live 22 years of my life without it?! I feel the same frustrations when people say they don’t like Spanish food; this cuisine is so varied and among the best in the world! I feel like there’s something for everyone, even the vegetarians.

  5. Although I left Spain about 2 years ago now, I still can’t live without tortilla (after all, it was part of my diet for 25 years!). When I go back home and my mom does some cooking… I immediately ask to prepare more so I can take it when I leave!

  6. Our suegras are going to need to have a tortilla and croqueta competition because I’m pretty sure that my suegra makes the best ;). I totally agree with you, though, on all counts. I get really fumed when people complain about Spanish food. In most cases they just don’t understand it – they don’t know what to order or try. Whenever I have guests, they always end up leaving loving the food!

  7. I started drooling as I read through your post. Whoever said Spain isn’t a foodie country is out of their mind! Good for you for putting the conversation to rest :)

  8. Maybe its a more southern thing – Gazpacho Manchego is to be much recommended. Its either a hunters broth of game, snails and sausages, with torn-up tortilla added to it just before serving. Or there’s a seafood version with saffron. carpetovetonico!

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