While we lived in Spain I used to watch a TV show called "Españoles por el mundo". Every week I would tune-in and secretly wait for the day that they would feature El Salvador.
I thought it would give me answers. I could figure out why these people had left the place I was now living in, to search for something in the place I had just left.
Seychelles, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, never El Salvador but no hard feelings, I absolutely loved to watch the show. Not only were they able to travel to exotic places they also had the exceptional ability of finding small groups of the rare, overly-cheerful life enthusiast kind.
Spain is on average one of the sunnier countries in Europe but I was born in El Salvador which -arguably a privilege- means I was raised biased. Basically what people refer to when they say weather-spoiled. We get the equivalent of 365 light-days of sun and anything less is on the freezing-cold range of my temperature spectrum.
We moved to Madrid right before the winter started.
There is a sadness to winter, specially for those who have never seen the snow.
Somewhere between walking the streets of a place I felt I didn't belong to and the loneliness of feeling far away, El Salvador felt like a loss.
I secretly grieved. There was a longing feeling that would never go away.
We were staying there indefinitely and I struggled trying to teach myself to contain my sadness.
It may have been my once dreamed then turned realistic job (I worked at an art gallery #teamcharlotteyork) or maybe that I had started running but rather unexpectedly and even unintentional the cold began to fade and my heart started to warm up. .
My bet is on the the long summer walks. Heinz would pick me up from the gallery and we would walk back to our apartment.
It became our two-hour daily "commute".
I remember the sidewalks becoming a friendlier place, a tinto-drinking party scattered around the city. Beating to the honks of white taxis; clear skies and terraces exposed by the natural light of 10:00PM sunsets.
Dimming, magical Madrid at its best.
Ice-cream cones were not exclusive to mid-twenties late night wanderers like us. Young families and kids seemed to think that the local Ice-cream joint was the go-to place for their midnight summer fun.
Madrid and I found a way to confide in each other. We both move at a particular rhythm, we like to take our time and find our own life-walking pace. I could always trust that the city would start its days late while I was accountable for making sure that bed-time stayed overrated.
Our Madrid years make me ironically nostalgic. Back then there were days when getting out of bed was a monumental accomplishment.
Understanding that all souvenirs are biased is to be blamed.
Here is one that I brought from Madrid.
Although originally a southern recipe Salmorejo is the thicker, richer brother of the Gazpacho and my personal favourite.
It's a cold tomato "soup" spiced with garlic and served with bread.
For this recipe I use:
- 5 tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic if you love garlic, if not 2 will be more than enough.
- Olive oil
- Salt to taste
I don't peel the tomatoes because I'm lay-zee, I cut the garlic in half and take out the center part as learned from a Spanish lady. I trust her garlic wisdom completely because no one does garlic better than Spain. She said it will prevent you from having strong to only giving you mild-to-low garlic breath.
I mix everything in the blender. Tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and as much bread I need to thicken out the soup. This time two loaves were enough.
I top it off with hard-boiled eggs.
A too-easy-to-be-true recipe. A Kobernik's favourite. An inherently biased souvenir.