Month: December 2012

2012: The Year Everything Changed

Change often comes in small, incremental pieces—a new haircut, a five-pound weight loss, new decorations, the leaves falling slowly off the trees in autumn. It happens so that you barely notice it. That is until you look back and consider where you were twelve months ago and where you are now.

Twelve months ago, I was in the same place I’m at now: my parents’ house in Indiana, my childhood home. But twelve months ago I was in a completely different place, figuratively speaking.

In 2012, Mario got a job, and we decided we were moving to Madrid.

All that studying paid off

In 2012, I lived in Zamora for three months while preparing for our wedding.

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In 2012, my parents, brother, and sister(-in-law) went to Spain to visit for one very special occasion.

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In 2012, it went from “I” to “we.”

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In 2012, we went on our honeymoon. To Venice, Florence, and Rome.

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In 2012, my brother got married to Colleen.

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In 2012, we moved to Madrid.

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In 2012, we attended several other couples’ weddings.

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In 2012, I got a job teaching English to sixth graders and found it was a wonderful age.

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In 2012, I met American women in Madrid, and some of them were married to Spaniards.

In 2012, Mario and I visited Sevilla and Córdoba.

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In 2012, I came home for Christmas and realized that Spain may be where I live, but Indiana is my home.

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2012: The Year Everything Changed. How was 2012 for you?

 

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My Favorite Spanish-Language Cooking Blogs

When I first came to Spain, I didn’t have a kitchen. I didn’t have a refrigerator. I lived in a renovated convent in the midst of Toledo’s casco antiguo.

Then, in Salamanca, I had a small kitchen. Quite adequate, actually. At least I had an oven, which isn’t always the case, I’ve learned. I have always loved baking, so I started baking for Mario, who will never say no to a galleta, chocolate-chip or otherwise. The only problem? I had no measuring cups. Measuring cups are another one of the US’s particularities. Most of the world cooks and—especially—bakes in grams. It makes sense. A cup of all-purpose flour doesn’t weigh the same as a cup of another type of flour. Using grams is more precise.

That didn’t help me, though. I had to use Google to convert all my cups of flour to grams, often dragging my laptop into the kitchen and using flour-stained fingers to type “1 cup of flour to grams” into the search bar. Annoying. There had to be a better way.

I’ve found that following Spanish-language cooking blogs is the way forward. Not only do they use grams and milliliters, they also don’t call for ingredients that are difficult, if not impossible, to find in places like Zamora. (In Madrid, it’s not impossible to find anything.) Moreover, it was a way for me to explore new dishes, ingredients, and flavors. A win-win!

Thus, I’d like to present to you all, some of whom I hope speak Spanish, my favorite cooking blogs written by Spaniards. I hope that you find them as interesting and worthwhile as I do.

ElComidista

El Comidista. El Comidista is written by Mikel López Iturriaga, who started his blog, Ondakín, and was later picked by up El País, one of Spain’s national newspapers. Mikel doesn’t just share delicious, in-season recipes; he also talks about all things related to gastronomy: restaurants, kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, culinary pop culture, etc. It’s always an entertaining read. Check it out:

JaviRecetas

Javi Recetas.  Behind Javi Recetas is José Javier Cabanas, a firefighter and student. Javi always proposes accessible recipes as well as useful information, like how to desalinate salt cod. I like his basic recipes especially.

RecetasdeMon

Recetas de Mon. Recetas de Mon is run by Mónica, born in Barcelona.

CocinandoentreOlivos

Cocinando entre Olivos. Erik pointed this site out to me (and to his other readers, of course). The only problem I have with it is the lack of recipe summaries, so to speak.

Biscayenne

Biscayenne: para golosos irredentos. Since I have one major goloso (person with a sweet tooth) at home, I love the name of the site. I’m not very familiar with Spanish desserts, but I’m learning. Step by step. This site is a great way to learn about the very traditional desserts like flan and, like Emeril, to take them up a notch or two.

A Freír Pimientos. There’s an expression in Spanish: “¡Vete a freír esparragos!” (Literally, “Go away and fry asparagus!” It means, basically, get the hell out of my sight. So I can’t help but think of that when I read this website’s title, which means (in my loose translation)

NoMasTuppersdeMama

No Más Tuppers de Mamá. This blog is run by three guys in their 20s, and it all looks finger-lickin’ good. Their recipes are both simple and elaborate, delicious and simple. Also, they come with recommended playlists, if you’re into that sort of thing. The three guys—Carlos, Marc, and Adrià—met in Manchester during their Erasmus semester abroad. If you don’t enjoy cooking, follow their blog at your own risk—you may be tempted to start.

So there you go, the Spanish-cooking blogs I follow. What about you, any recommendations?

The Rain in Sevilla

Our trip to Sevilla got off to a rainy start. After checking into our hotel after an unsuccessful attempt to visit the dentist (another story altogether!), night had already fallen. Another thing falling? The rain, of course.

IMG_0435My first view of La Giralda

Luckily, Sevilla is still pretty, even amidst the drizzle. The Christmas lights were lit, and it was hard to feel discontent with the whole city wishing us Felices Fiestas (Happy Holidays).

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Spain Blogger Confessions

You all already know I’m not the starry-eyed Spain enthusiast that some bloggers are. I do like Spain, of course—I just take it in moderation. Some days enough gets to be enough. So I thought I’d confess a few things that you might not have surmised from my posts. It’s okay to be honest—really, we’re better off for it!

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Okay, Kaley, less “Blah, blah, blah” and more fun!

  • I don’t try everything. I don’t care how good you insist it is, I don’t want to try morro (snout) or criadilla (bull testicle) or oreja (ear). I’ve tried orejas already and never again!). If this makes me unadventurous, sue me.
  • I hate dubbing. I refuse to watch TV shows dubbed. In any language. Please, try to tell me that The Big Bang Theory is just as funny in Spanish. No. Just no. So yeah, this means I watch a lot of TV in English, which is bad for my Spanish learning. But I really don’t like Spanish TV or movies. Neither does Mario. 
  • I’m still patriotic. No, I’m not blindly patriotic. I understand the US has its flaws and is not God’s chosen country, but I still love my country and miss so many things about it—barbecues, the openness, the informality, the ease with which I navigated any and all social situations … en fin, so much!
  • I don’t idealize the Spanish lifestyle. Sure, Spain is known for relaxation, sun, and siestas. But the truth is, many Spaniards work endless days and get little to no rest. Nowadays the unemployment rate is sky high. I think that Spaniards definitely get it right with regards to enjoying food/drink, eating healthily, and walking, but they’re not perfect. They’re not inherently less lazy than Americans. They’re human—just like us.

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Spain + America = Success

  • I have a love/hate relationship with blogging. Sometimes (most of the time), I love blogging. I love the relationships it has created, the opportunities it has given me, the wonderful feedback I get from it. At others, I feel intimidated by other bloggers, worried that no one likes me, afraid that what I say will cause someone somewhere to become angry with me. I’m often envious of other bloggers’ success because I wish that I could achieve that same level of success without compromising any of my principles.

So, what about you—anything to confess? C’mon, spill it.