Monday, January 21, 2013

Lost in Translation::Pollo al Horno con Puerros de Mantequilla

After four months of living in Spain, you would think that by now, I would have fully adjusted and settled into my new life here. But the reality of the situation is that it's taken me just that long to feel as if I've found some semblance of balance and/or normalcy. And keep in mind the operative term of "semblance" because both my definitions of normal and balance seem be in a constant state of change. In any event, for many reasons, including this period of adjustment, I've been remiss if not purposely avoidant of updating this blog. 

As you can imagine, there are lots of things that get lost in translation when one packs up their entire life and moves to a new country, and transitioning a domestic food blog to describe an international life is one of them. I have struggled here, not only with the language and from time to time, the distance from home, but the question of how to express myself in that full-on Bernadette way--complete with inappropriate levels of profanity, butter, and bourbon, whilst sharing the good, the bad, and the absurdity of my life in Spain. 

January 13. on the beach!
It took me until last Sunday, whilst basking in the sunshine to avoid the chill of the January ocean breeze, for me to realize that this move has not only changed my address, it's also changed my narrative. I must also mention that it has also changed my ability to find a respectable brand of bourbon for home purchase, therefore making me feel estranged and lost without my one true libational love, and facilitating an unsatisfying rebound relationship with sugary cocktails and cheap beer.

These changes to my narrative and boozing habits, have also undoubtedly changed my cooking habits. Seeing as how I am now without 90% of my kitchen tools, currently share my kitchen with 3 other people, and actually have to be at work at 9am, I can no longer start cooking 3 hour long "whatever I feel like cooking" dinners after 10pm on a weeknight. Additionally, I've still not perfected the art of shopping at the grocery store, the frutería AND the carnicería smoothly, [this is because I'm lazy] and am constantly without an appropriate stock of food.

But, however, I think I have finally figured things out now. For starters, there are several posts from my pre-Spain life that I never found the time to post before I left, which once I got here, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to share them. Until now. Whenever I'm feeling homesick, or waxing profanely about how the addition of Target and just a little more effort at being organized and reliable could make Spain one of the best countries on the planet, I'll share something old from home. Because life just isn't the same without a readily available bottle of 8 year aged bourbon, a martini shaker, and Archer Farms brand cookies and mossimo brand clothing. And while I can't do much about target, I can sure as hell rediscover my inner mixologist, and avail myself to the respectable selection of quality whiskeys. I'm just going to have to pony up the cash for some martini glasses and a shaker. If it's the little things that count, these two items can make all the difference in my world*. And, since this has always been more than just a food blog, I've decided to formally expand on what to talk about here. So yes, there will be food, but there will also be travel, and partying adventures, and rants about the crisis, and more food, and cocktails, and the personal growth, and who knows what else. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life whenever and wherever I settle down, but I know that this blog, if maintained properly can open doors to new opportunities abroad or at home. 

So, without further delay, let's talk about this Roast Chicken with Buttered Leeks that I made way back in November, when there were 22 Erasmus students in my piso for dinner (Spanish time = >10pm) on a Wednesday evening. All I wanted to do was cook the chicken thighs that had been sitting in my fridge in some semblance of a Spanish way. But as it turns out, I don't actually know very much about Spanish home cooking. 

My compañero de piso, Olly, was hosting the weekly Erasmus dinner party, and was making a Moroccan lentil stew. I saw fit to [because I didn't have much choice] to piggy back on the dinner party and add my not so Spanish chicken, maybe kind of Moroccan chicken as well as some definitely Spanish Delicias Datiles to the mix of English, Spanish, Argentinian, and American people and languages on that fateful evening. 

What resulted was no less than chaotic. And delicious. And confusing, because at the time my Spanish was worse than it is now, which is to say that for every 10 words of Spanish I actually knew how to speak, I could only understand 2 of them when they were spoken to me. And loud. Oh, so loud. The neighbors asked us to shut it down at 1am, which if anything should indicate just how laid back this country can be. It would be a more beautiful thing if it didn't apply to EVERYTHING aspect of life here. But I'll not rant about 

I'll just reminisce, and try my damnedest to remember the recipe for this chicken. 

Buen Provecho

Roast Chicken with Buttered Leeks

Delicias Datiles

*Yes, I realize this makes me sound like a raging alcoholic. To this I say, "meh". My roommate Emily, bought she and I flasks from Target upon her return from the states this Christmas. I jumped up and down for joy when she presented me with mine. It's one of the best and most practical gifts I've ever received.


  1. I'm having a pretty good time here, so I will try best to enjoy it for everyone

  2. Change is a part of life -- the good and the ugly of it. Glad you're feeling more settled.

  3. What an exciting move! And I'll be bookmarking that recipe! :)



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