Nonetheless, in the last 30 years change has been rapid: the Spanish are fully part of new Europe; they are interested in new modes of eating, new dishes, new lifestyles. Many Spanish kitchens now boast Maldon Salt and Parmesan cheese as status symbols, and magazines offer Spanish takes on Chinese cooking and low-fat recipes for modern Spanish mothers. Although there has been a rush to industrialize food production-TV commercials advertising ready made paellas, for example, are no longer seen as subversive-there has been a parallel growth in Spanish pride in quality products and a determination to safeguard their unique Iberian heritage. Perhaps more than any other country in Europe, the Spanish have one foot in their unique culinary past, one in the global present. The future of Spanish food, cooking, and traditions, remains an open and intriguing question.
The book will be divided into 17 chapters, each highlighting a different ingredient or ingredients from a different region of Spain. These introductory narratives will tell the story of each ingredient in terms of culture, history, cultivation, traditions, location, context, and so on, and above all bring the products to life by talking to the producers themselves in situ. Each essay will then be followed by a selection of five recipes using the product.
The ingredients have been selected so they represent a cross-section of Spanish produce: some familiar, others less so, some expected, some surprising, some artisan, some larger-scale, and so on.