edible history: recreating altamiras's recipes at home
Altamiras often wrote his recipes in a breathless shortland style, but when it came to unusual or original methods he went into detail, making them remarkably easy to recreate at home today.
Here, below, are a few of his landmark dishes as I’ve cooked and photographed them in my small everyday home kitchen. Along with each recipe is cultural context expanding on the book’s old recipes and their modern versions.
Recreations by the few chefs passionate about historic cookery – for example, Alain Senderens, Anton Mosimann, Heston Blumenthal and, in Spain, Kiko Moya – are the most inspirational of all. Senderens led the way not only in his “archéologie du culinaire”, or updating of cookery knowledge as sedimented over millenia, but also in his rejection of over-luxurious status cookery.
But that doesn’t mean we cannot try historic cookery at home. Altamiras’s recipes allow improvisation, they jolt our taste buds alive beyond the sweet and salt divide, and they allow us to come back to 21st-century cookery with new perspectives.