Cultural Pride in Local Cuisine

I’ve completed my project, and I want to share some of the results.  The most important component of my project was the interview with José Manuel Córdoba, the dueño and head chef of the restaurant “El Ventorrillo el Chato,” a highly popular and famous restaurant in Cádiz. He confirmed that the historical presence of many cultures on the Iberian Peninsula has had a major impact on the types of foods prepared today.  He said that the city of Cádiz does indeed have its own signature plates.  On the topic of the impact of modern globalization, Córdoba said that the new means of transport that arise from globalization has indeed changed the preparation of food completely. It is possible to deliver products much more rapidly, and also enables the use of products from different countries.  He affirmed that food is of great importance in the culture of Cadiz. He observed that when gaditanos have some money to spend, they spend it on food to eat with their friends and family, because food is central to social and culture.

I also prepared an informal questionnaire to gather information about the views of Cadiz. The answers of the ten Cadiz indicated a typical cuisine of Cadiz, but is also a part of the gastronomy of Andalusia. Most think that the history of cultural exchange in Spain has an impact on today’s typical food, and some believe that the food Cadiz has changed by globalization (influences from other regions of Spain or other countries) in recent years. On the food and culture, one person said, “Yes. It is as important as anything related to culture such as literature, art, etc.”

During my study in Cádiz, I stayed with a Spanish family.  The father of the family cooked almost every day, and he prepared food from Italy, France, Morocco and India in addition to traditional Spanish meals. Many times, we ate Spanish tortillas and flan, two traditional Spanish foods that do not originate from Cádiz.  Sometimes, we did eat lentil soup or fish dishes of Cádiz. The family was young, with a ten-year-old, and a fourteen-year-old, and they are a very modern family. I found that lunch (eaten at around 3 in the afternoon during siesta) and dinner (eaten after 9 at night) are the times of day when all family gathers to spend time. It is not important that the family does not always eat traditional Spanish food, what is important is the value of meals as time spent together.

The food is a deeply rooted part of Spanish culture as it represents regional and local pride. Not only is there a typical Andalucían tradition of food, but also each province has its own cuisine and every city has its own unique dishes. These dishes and culinary traditions are influenced by the long history of cultural mixing and also by the very different environments and natural resources in each area. While globalization has changed some of the traditions of eating, cultural pride in local cuisine remains.

Comments

  1. Anna Glendening says:

    I love your conclusion about the importance of food, but the more important aspect of spending time with family and friends. I wish more American families were focused not only what food we eat, but that we eat it together.