My global gastronomical journey restarted yesterday afternoon when my sister-in-law came to the house with a bottle of Babich sauvignon blanc, some grapes, crackers, and a couple of cheeses. We added to the feast with garlic-and-jalapeño-stuffed olives. As we sat at the dining table, looking out over the back deck to the trees and distant fields, I said it felt much like our experience last year with my brothers and sister and sister-in-law in France. Just whiling away an afternoon with conversation and wine and simple foods. I remembered the markets in the south of France where we bought olives and meat and bread and vegetables. And images flashed in my mind of huge outdoor markets where we saw more fresh seafood and fresh vegetables and spices than I’d ever seen before. It was exquisite. The recollections of France and the experience of seeing and buying and eating food propelled more thoughts of foods I want to make.
I wrote above that my journey restarted yesterday; it began while we were visiting friends in Fort Smith recently. There, we talked food as we often do and the conversation turned to paella. I expressed a desire to own a paella pan and an even stronger desire to have access to fresh seafood like mussels and shrimp and squid and octopus and to a source of saffron. My generous friends offered to let us borrow their paella pan. We declined, but said when we find a source for fresh seafood suitable for paella, we will invite them to rush down to visit and bring the paella pan with them.
In today’s mail we found an issue of Food & Wine dedicated to Spain. Any discussion of Spanish food includes the obligatory conversation about paella and tapas, and the issue that came in today’s mail does address those dishes. But it covers so much more. Reading it made me long for queso manchego, jamón Ibérico, grilled octopus (pulpo), and dozens of other dishes. I may get serious about learning more about foods from different countries and cultures and cooking and serving them in our home. I might have to translate the name of our kitchen, which we call French Kangaroo, to canguro francés or kangourou français or, because I’ve been quite enamored with Moroccan cuisine of late, الكنغر الفرنسي.