Next week, Cook Sip Go will be filled with food, drink and travel content from Spain. The Iberian nation has been a special place for me for many years. It was the first country I visited where English was not the official language and was my first stop in continental Europe. That initial trip to Spain set off my desire to travel and to experience different cultures and foods.
In anticipation of ten days touring around Spain during the mid-90’s, I spent a spring semester of high school barreling through Hemingway’s books and short stories that portrayed life and death in Spain. A month into that summer, I was sitting in a sidewalk café in Madrid sipping my first gin and tonic. Sharply dressed waiters lingered around metal tables and chairs on a slowly cooling Meseta summer night. I felt like a character in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” minus the rampant nihilism.
Over the years, I became more attached to Spain and its culture. I studied Spanish literature in college and spent a summer in Barcelona and the following several months in Valencia, where I lived with a family. I continued to visit Spain when possible and kept up my language abilities and cultural connections by reading the Spanish press online every morning, by listening to Valencia games through Radio Nou’s website and by wearing out several Estopa and Joaquín Sabina CDs.
My emotional ties to Spain are also strong. On March 11, 2004, I wept as if my own country had been attacked when bombs exploded on Madrid commuter trains. As Andrés Iniesta rocketed a half-volley past the Dutch keeper to clinch Spain’s first World Cup, I screamed with unabated exuberance and passion. When it came time to book a honeymoon, my wife and I knew where we were headed.
I am excited about the Spain content forthcoming. The Monday Morning Photo will be from my favorite Barcelona square. I will be making a traditional Spanish recipe and will create a cocktail with decidedly Spanish ingredients. Thursday will bring a photo essay from a northern Spanish city and This Week’s Best will look to blogs that focus on Spain. Saludos y nos vemos.