5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Everyday Spanish Eating,
This review is from: Menu Del Dia: More Than 100 Authentic, Classic Recipes From Across Spain (Hardcover)
This new cookbook and casual guide to everyday Spanish eating is the product of years of living, traveling, shopping and cooking in Spain - especially, according to Rohan's introduction - of an enviable four-month gastronomic dérive undertaken just last year.
Rohan knows the Basque country, Galicia, Valencia and Alicante, and his love of the country and its honest traditions of simple preparations shines through this collection of well over a hundred recipes based around the concept of the bargain, three or four course midday lunch still offered by many Spanish restaurants (indeed, the introduction reminds us that, under Franco, offering a cut-price menú del día was mandatory as a way of keeping the nation's workers well fed).
Lunch is a heavy meal in Spain. Some readers might be surprised to find several paellas in the Primeros Platos section, along with soups and salads. In fact, a medium-sized plate of paella with seafood and chicken often precedes the main course on the lunch menu. This is hearty food. For the most part, too, it's easy food for the home cook. I couldn't agree more with Rohan's comment that this is not a "persnickety cuisine." As he says, "the odd slip, miscalculation, or change of ingredient" is unlikely to spoil your enjoyment of the finished dish.
The great American food writer Waverley Root left us Food of France and Food of Italy - two monumental guides to the regional cuisines of those countries. It's a pity he didn't stretch to a Food of Spain. Rohan's ambitions here are less grandiose, but this is an excellent sketch of what the country offers - and unlike Root, comes with clear recipes too. It's especially timely, too, during a period where Spanish cooking has become increasingly identified with the - often excellent - avant garde experimentation of young Basque and Catalan chefs. This book brings it back home.