Tuesday, April 29, 2014

lit - starved.


I stole a magazine today.

It was sitting in a pile on the counter at a coffee shop, the Things We Provide To Read While Hanging Out pile, not unlike the heaps of wrinkled glossy paper at a hair salon, and I pushed the stack to the side to make room for my laptop without really taking notice of its contents.  It wasn't until a few hours later, when I was packing up to leave, that I glanced at the title of the booklet on top.  Madrid Comestible, it read, above a picture of two hands cupping a small scoop of cheese crumbles.  Edible Madrid.  I flipped to the center of the magazine and was met with a full spread of lovely images in faded light: a bunch of dirty indigo grapes; old men (one bearded, one in a hat) considering the wine in their glasses; a blurry bottle on the edge of a table.  I flipped again to find a bread recipe, and again to a collection of watercolored spring vegetables.  This was a stunning food magazine, the kind I devour in droves in the US but was certain could not exist in a country so thoroughly satisfied by salty red meat and little else.  Where fish, strawberries, chocolate, chard all receive the same praise if enjoyed: que rica.  How could these people --- with ONE PHRASE for when things taste good --- sustain 84 pages of aesthetically beautiful food love?

I had to know.  So I peered around, verifying relative anonymity, and shoved the booklet in my bag.



The lesson today is that Your People exist everywhere.  Even if they're hard to find at first, there are theatre geeks at the arts desert of a high school, there are raver bros in the church congregation, there are food lovers in the way that I know them to exist in the capital of Spain.  They are hiding in a little shop down an alley somewhere, and you cannot see them for all of the ham hanging in the windows of the stores that flank it.  It will take some time, and work, or possibly petty theft, to locate them.  But they are there, and they are taking stunning dusty pictures of pots bubbling over, and illustrating recipes for lamb stuffed with leeks and quinoa, and writing reviews of website-less holes in the wall that apparently serve roasted beet sandwiches.  I am being a dramatic nut about this because it feels warranted, ok?: in this city of 3 million individuals very much not like me (at least in terms of what we're making for lunch), I have located a small sliver of kindred hungry people.

Alright.  End of absurd statement-making.

Madrid Comestible is so new that their website has nothing on it.  Spring 2014 marks the first of what they promise will be a trimestral review of local food, and even though I am google translating 67% of the articles because I have heretofore had no reason to know the word for "grated" (its ralladura, duh), I am totally hooked.  I want to subscribe.  I realize that will not be cost effective or even really helpful from the United States but I am inclined to tell you to take your logic elsewhere.  I want to go to dinner with the editor in chief, I want them to hire me, I want eat at every restaurant they mention, I want to write them love letters.  I guess I lied about it being the end of absurdity before.

Tomorrow I'm knocking the first of the profiled places off my list: Federal, a bright cafe whose green smoothie with chia seeds is supposedly not to be missed.  Leave it to me to hunt exhaustively and fruitlessly on the internet and on foot for seven months in this baffling metropolis for a damn green smoothie only to have all of my dreams realized in a single second on page 41.

1 comment:

  1. Hello!
    We just saw your nice page about us, please, we want to meet you!
    madrid@comestible.es

    Please, let us know about you.

    Luis

    ReplyDelete