ALAMBIQUE 2019: ALTAMIRAS FOOD HISTORY SEMINARS
From January to May 2018 Alambique, Madrid’s longest established cookery school, invited me to give a series of not-for-profit classes on various themes arising from Altamiras’s New Art of Cookery. Class attendance grew and we continued in the autumn with an emphasis on home cookery. Fray Ángel also came to Madrid for a session about friary preserves. For 2019’s classes I suggested that we stick to our original not-for-profit and multisensorial approach allowing alumni to sample dishes and methodologies, but that we open up my teaching space to others in Madrid’s food community. Our first talk was by David Sáez of Melguiza, a unique company handling top-quality Aragonese and Manchego saffron; Ángel Oñoro gave an overview of Spanish flavours in Columbia’s Caribbean cookery; eminent gastronomic critic Julia Pérez Lozano analysed historic cookery in Spanish restaurant cuisine; and Sonia Fernández Estebán, archaeologist and museum curator, spoke about ice pits and snow in Madrid’s early modern kitchens. Special guests included London based food and art historian Gillian Riley, Clara Maria Amezua, Alambique’s founder, and Italian ecochef Luca Gatti. To round off our spring and summer seasons I gave a session offering a closer look at Altamiras’s innovative recipes for verduras, choosing simple dishes that capture Spain’s complex cultural history. Work has also begun on three classes for autumn: one by restaurateur Belén La Guía, who will talk about her research into two 19th-century Murcian cookery manuscripts; a second by journalist and educationalist Gustavo Puerta, who will explore “edible” food history’s potential as an educational tool; and a third by Fray Ángel Serrano, who will round off 2019’s series with a session explaining Franciscan cooking’s relevance today and sharing recipes for home kitchens.
(Cover photo, courtesy of Julia Vallespin Rodriguez.)