The process of cooking and eating Salmorejo—A cultural experience in the kitchen

July 17, 2016

One of the most important aspects of culture is food. What and how we eat is very important. Cooking is a quintessential part of our lives, and we know that besides tasting, eating, and cooking are also some of the funniest activities you can do when you experience a different culture.

Andalusia is proud of it cuisine, they have several dishes for which people from this area are proud of. Probably most of us have been exposed to “Gazpacho” a cold soup based on tomato, but probably less people know about “Salmorejo”, another soup that is normally served cold, just like Gazpcho. For many naïve tourist, these two soups are the same thing, but we learned the most significant differences between the two soups. Salmorejo is based on tomato, but it also has a significant amount of olive oil and bread. Before we started cooking our salmorejo, we had to arrive to one of the nicest restaurants in Plaza Nueva, a very traditional place in Granada. We were greeted by Ana, the chef we had for a few minutes as our teacher. Ana was a delightful teacher for us; a native from Jaen, the world capital of olive oil, she introduced us first to the world of olive oil. She showed us three different types of oil for us to compare. It was a delicious task we happily performed. Once we were done with the oil (and half way full), we prepared some “Remojon” a potato based salad. After our salad, we started cooking our salmorejo. We started by chopping and liquefying the tomato, a task that some teams took very seriously. We cut the bread, added olive oil and some vinegar. Needless to say that one group added more than double amount of the vinegar, adding a very “special” flavor to their salmorejo (something that I appreciated because I loved the new version for this soup).

Once we cooked, we started eating our (theirs, to be more precise) creations. We enjoyed the food and shared anecdotes and stories with Ana, the chef, who happened to be also a Flamenco dancer.

We ate in one of the many sections of the restaurant, next to the cooking area. We enjoyed ourselves and after everybody had finished, we cleaned the area (an important step for all cooking) and went back to our campus.

We arrived at the time the rest of the academy were having dinner. I don’t know the rest of the students, but I had more than enough salmorejo that I preferred not to eat that night the delicious fish everybody was eating.

This is one of the many sections for our cooking class. Ana has given classes to an average of 15 students each night. I am sure that for many of our students, this will be one of the hallmarks of their cultural experience in Granada.