Grandma Frasquita Grandma Frasquita was well known due to her bad temper. I always had the feeling that she was angry but when she was cooking. She always cooked with care, in peace, but you could still hear her grumbling. When she was having a bad day , it was always better not to be on her way. The kitchen was the only place where she was really happy thus she spent peacefully in there all day long. She never woke up late or too early, just on time. She used to have her bedroom tidy up before coming downstairs for toileting. She loved Nenuco, a very well-known after shower fragrance that most Spaniards were putting on babies for ages, you could even say that she had a shower on that fragrance. Every now and then when I smell nenuco it comes to my memory Frasquita. Frasquita was widow, she lost her husband and unfortunately some children too. At that time some cultural rules applied, women used to be dressed all in black from head to toes. It did not matter if it was winter or summer, it was always the same. Mourning was really respected and you were pointed out if you did not follow it. She was always groomed with a nice hair braid. Her hair reached her waist and she use to make an infinite braid that she rolled into a bun with hairpins and immediately after, her apron was in place. She was always having the same for breakfast: a well-browned toast, made of bun, with oil and a drizzle of mistela that was sneaked in. Right after her day was starting tiding up the kitchen and cooking the lunch. She was more than 80 years old, her face was deep wrinkled from those tanned in the sun while harvesting cotton from the Sevillian countryside, but she did not care. She often said that if she didn’t, no one would and she kept on cooking. Veal fillets marinated with lemon and garlic. Lentils with chorizo. Chickpeas with majao. Rice pudding. Meatballs in sauce. Tomato soup. Fried fish. Potato stew with curdled egg. Stuffed alcauciles. Stew with goo. I was very lucky to meet her so I could learn all what she knew. Unfortunately She never saw me cooking. We could say that we never had a good relationship, She did not want to teach me cooking, she always said that it was better to spend my time studying. I never cooked for her. We did not get along and now … She is present in my eternal bun, in my taste for stockings and my love for wearing black cloths. And now as it could not be otherwise, in all my dishes. Grandma’s dishes. Since she left, those recipes are now Grandma’s steaks, Grandma’s lentils, Grandma’s potatoes, Grandma’s rice pudding… From Grandma Frasquita.
Grandma Catalina Catalina Alfonso looked like he was born with a bunch of green plastic bags in each hand everytime she was coming home. She always got out of the yellow Seat 850 wanting to see her 11 grandchildren and to cook for them. Javier, Juan Manuel, Jose Ramón, Yolanda, Juan Francisco, Lucía, Ana Catalina, Manuel, Juan, Roberto Carlos and myself, Juan Antonio. The eleven grandchildren have grown up going to the rooftop terrace to look for Grandpa Juan, who was always with a bug on his hands for grandma Catalina to cook. Rabbit with rice..Chicken in sauce amongst other fabulous dishes. During weekends, in my father’s land, she spent hours cooking migas, a typical dish cooked by stirring bread crumbs that we used to eat with grilled sardines, mixed bacon or oranges. The wine torrijas. The pestiños. The pulley. Snails, cabrillas.. and Menudo, the special dish of grandma Catalina. Catalina was able to feed all the family and turned potatoes and other modest ingredients in heavenly cooked food. We never wondered if there were better dishes at other tables, we were so satisfied that it was just not possible in our minds. We had from sardines to Offal dishes. It may not be the most popular dishes nowadays but at that time those Offal dishes were feeding many modest families. Maybe that is why I still enjoy it and it is part of my favorites at home. She died shortly after my grandfather Juan passed away. I will always miss her way of calling us by our full names. I, professional musician , have always loved cooking and She , on her infinite wisdom , left me the most precious heritage I could have had received. Her yellow, stained and worn cooking book. That book has travelled thousands of kilometers and now it is in my hands again. It is the cookbook from which I get all my recipes, my grandma recipes. From Grandma Catalina.