The Spanish Kitchen: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories from Spain, by Clarissa Hyman
Spanish food has been shaped by many influences: among them Roman, Arabic, Jewish, and the products brought back by the Conquistadores from the New World.
There are many common threads within the cooking of Spain, from salt cod to saffron, and on the whole, Spanish home cooking throughout the Peninsula is simple, uncomplicated, and direct, with a singular lack of adornment on the plate.
Centuries of isolation from the rest of Europe has also safeguarded many wonderful ingredients that even now remain unknown both outside their region of origin and outside of the country.
The book is divided into 17 chapters, each highlighting a different ingredient or ingredients from a different region of Spain. These introductory narratives tell the story of each ingredient in terms of culture, history, cultivation, traditions, location, context, and so on, and above all bring the products to life by talking to the producers themselves in situ.
Each essay is followed by a selection of five recipes using the product. The ingredients have been selected so they represent a cross-section of Spanish produce: some familiar, others less so, some expected, some surprising, some artisan, some larger-scale, and so on.