- Member since Tue 12 Mar 13
I would like to say Jamie and all his supporters how good is what your are doing. I'm Spanish, a young, but despite that, quite traditional Spanish girl, as far as food is concerned. We do cook everyday, I work, my boyfriend works, but we always manage to cook two proper meals a day. We cook traditional Spanish dishes, Spanish cuisine is famous by their super-modern new cuisine, but people everyday food is different, quite simple, cheap and not so stylishly presented.
My boyfriend was living in the UK for a while and I went to visit him three times. I had in my lugagge some traditional products such as chorizo o jamón I thought would be difficult to find there or perhaps too much expensive. But it would have been impossible to prepare myself to the total absence of anything I experienced there. I could not find a proper butcher's, and there were so few ¡only in my street of a tiny town of Spain there are more butcher's than in the entire Dubblin! 'And were are the fish-shops (pescaderías)?', I thought 'This is an island, isn't it?'.' I was like ten minutes trying to explain to the supermarket attendant I wanted fish, but not this packed thing she called fish, but a whole fish with it's eyes, you know, its gills... because, without seeing them, how could I possibly check the freshness of the fish? And also I would have liked to conserve the head and spine to make a soup. At the moment she heard 'eyes' she turned pale. So, suddenly, what I thought was the easiest thing in the world turned to be tremendously complicated. At home I go downstairs, walk 200metres and got my pescadería, I ask, 'who is the last?' and then, I can wander around evaluating the quality of the product. When my turn arrives (after the 'last' person) the fishmonger ask me '¿qué va a ser guapa?'(= 'What would you like, honey??) I tell him and after that he wheighs the fish up and ask me '¿quieres que te lo limpie?' (=would you like me to clean it?). He also asks me how I what the fish to be cutted (¿qué le hago?), and if I want to conserve the head and spine (vas a querer esto?) Sooooooooo easy, you can even ask how to cook a fish to your fishmonger, he is going to say you,' I always make it like that', or 'my wife do whatever'. And on top of all is much much cheaper than in UK. I believe there is a lot of people that still cook in my country, despite lazyness, because the unprocessed product is much cheaper than a ready made food. That makes sense because you have to add the cost of the processing to the cost of the ingredients, so less whealthy people do their meals themselves. Adding the fact that we do not trust packed or ready made food, if you want minced meat to make lasagna or albóndigas you don't buy it already minced, only students commit this mistake, the majority of people, and mothers specially would say to the butcher after a carefull inspection: 'this piece of beef, mince it to me please'
Well, to sum up, it was totally impossible for me to cook some delicious Spanish basic food to my boyfriend. I got totally disappointed.
I saw how people eating anyway, anything, they were absolutely unaware of the importance of eating. Sometimes you were invited to friend's house and people were eating junk food alone, in their own rooms. In my country meals are a moment of sharing, if there are two people in the same house there are going to eat toghether, to eat in Spain means to seat down, you don't eat while walking or in the tube, this are only emergency consumptions of food because this particular day you're too busy.
I have read some stories about how children in your country eat, it's so sad! Eating is a part of the culture, you need to know how to eat properly, the manners also, it's the first thing you're tought, before learning to read! as important as saying please and thank you. No Spanish mother would never allow their children to eat like that, they will do anything, even in a country without pescaderías, the will fish themselves from the river. If a child were feeded only with junk food in Spain I'm sure social services coud take them from this parents.
Your contry really needs a re-approach to food, to apreciate the quality, to understand how to see it in a raw product, to re-discover the pleasure of cooking and eating properly. Your physical and mental health, and your happiness are at stake. But I'm afraid you have big the food industry giants against you, so, tough fight ahead you have! Animo!
Sorry for my bad English I hope the writing is understandable. And a final reflexion, I never shop meat from the big supermarkets, I don't trust them (the meat is in good condition but is from old animals, not tender), but when I go to buy things such as tuna cans and rice I have noticed that the cheap cow meat they have, already cutted, packed, comes from Ireland! how can this meat be cheap in Spain being so expensive in Ireland, I will send you a photo. 'someone' is artificially changing the market natural rules so the raw product in you country is more expensive than the processed one, they are tricking you.