Balancing the Magic of España with the Realities of Life

Despite the fact that this is my first blog, I have actually been working on this project bit-by-bit for the past month.  My study abroad has been amazing, but so incredibly busy! Not only do we have full-time classes (and exams this week!), but also planned program activities to explore Cádiz and weekend excursions to other cities in Andalucía.  So, my first difficulty has been finding the time to do everything that I want and need to do!

The second difficulty I encountered: setting up interviews.  It turns out the Gastronomy Club I had researched does not have a telephone number or email address to contact.  This made it a little bit difficult to find someone from the club to talk to about what the culture of food is in Cádiz.

However, I did find a really good book in a local second-hand bookshop.  It’s title? Gastronomía de la Provincia de Cádiz: Pueblo a Pueblo.  Perfect!  In fact, it’s cleared up several things for me.  First of all, I was worried about not having enough material to do a detailed study of just the food of Cádiz.  The name “Cádiz” can refer to the name of the province located in the Spanish autonomous community of Andalucía, or the name of the capital city of that province.  I am conducting this research from the city of Cádiz, but I was worried that there would not be enough distinct food in this city, and that I would have to expand the investigation to other cities in the province of Cádiz.

According to this book, however, even within the province, each city has distinct dishes that point to their various historical heritages.  So, while I will focus my examination of food in this city, my project will also seek to place the gastronomy of this city within the gastronomy of this province and region.  What’s gaditano food like? Well, it involves a lot of seafood.  Did I mention the ocean? It’s literally right outside my window.  And, as a historical port city, the sea is kind of a big deal here.  Typical of all Andalucían food (and Mediterranean food in general), olive oil is featured heavily.  Especially foods fried in olive oil.  Also, a lot of dishes feature tomatoes and potatoes, and salt (a major product of Cádiz since the days of the Phoenicians).  Not everything is high in oil and salt, though, as gaditanos eat a lot of fresh fruits, as well.

So what now? I am in the process of gathering perspectives from some gaditanos (the people of Cádiz) on what they think food means to their city and region, and whether or not there is a unique gastronomy of Cádiz.  I have my first interview tomorrow with a business owner of several restaurants.  It’s fair to say that I’m really nervous (keep in mind that this is all in Spanish, and while my comprehension has improved, I am still very timid about speaking).

Unfortunately, I will be leaving Spain this weekend, and going home.  I wish I could stay here all summer, but unfortunately, my study abroad is coming to an end.  Before I go, I’ll be gathering all the information I need to finish my project.

Comments

  1. Wow, it sounds like you’ve been having a busy (and food-filled!) summer! You mention that different areas have various dishes unique to that particular place; through your travels, have you found any foods that are extremely widespread or consistent over a broad geographical range?

  2. Taylor Charest says:

    That sounds like an amazing trip. Did you have a chance to visit other parts of Spain so you can get more of a feel yourself as to what is truly regional?

  3. regallahue says:

    Hanna, how did the results of your survey go? I’m interested to see what the gaditanos you interviewed said were regional dishes, and what their opinions of their gastronomical culture are. I’d be curious to learn if some of the dishes we ate while staying with our host families were in fact traditional gaditano, regional, or national.