Wednesday. Theory day. No cooking, lots of learning. We covered exam topics in the morning. Do YOU know how cold your freezer should be? Or how much acidity is in extra virgin olive oil? (-18C, and 1%.)
For lunch, Mariano from Brazil (rumour has it he used to work with Francis Mallmann) roasted a lamb in a very dramatic fashion. He grilled all morning and we ate the most succulent, tender meat of my life for lunch. It was biblical.
In the afternoon demo Darina and Emer showcased tapas. I lived in Spain for three years and have a love/hate relationship with it. Let me explain.
Things I love :
Croissants a la plancha.
The lifestyle. Maybe it was just me but I found life in Madrid very casual and spontaneous. There was always time for drinks with friends in the middle of the week.
The way they drink alcohol. No binge drinking. It’s normal to drink almost every day, even at lunch, but in moderation. Usually with food. So civilised.
I don’t love :
I’m sorry but I never felt that excited by Spanish cuisine. To me, it’s bland. I know they have amazing restaurants but the ordinary food doesn’t thrill me. One thing that stood out to me in today’s demo was how few herbs there were. Most days there is a big tray of all sorts of herbs but today I only saw some thyme and marjoram for an olive brine. Salt and olive oil were the main sources of flavour. I like both of those things but there are so many more things to taste in this world!
So I wasn’t overly excited by the food we saw today but I wholeheartedly agree with Darina when she says that Irish pubs need to start taking food more seriously and we need to eat while we drink.
I learned : Offal is sometimes known as ‘variety meats.’ As Darina says, if you’re going to kill an animal you should use it all.
The olive oil industry is worth more than the cocaine industry.
Food of the day : Lamb. See above.
Line of the day : ‘Paranoia is fuelled by big industry.’ Darina speaking the truth.