food & drink

48 years ago

One thing heavy on everyone's hands these days is time. People have so much of it that they have reverted to doing things that they had almost forgotten about, like reading books.

Those with proper libraries can appreciate the moment the glass doors swing open to release that unique smell of leather and cigar smoke, and few things give so much pleasure as the rediscovery of a long-forgotten volume, bringing back happy memories that can go further than just the act of reading.

Donn Pohren was an American in love with Spain. He founded The Society of Spanish Studies in Seville in 1972 and hosted American guitarists keen to learn flamenco, about which he wrote several excellent books. He was also a foodie. In Adventures in Taste: The Wines and Folk Food of Spain, he describes every dish that was at the time current, making hundreds of gastronomic excursions.

He visited every corner of Spain. An example: "If you wish to eat chivo con almendras (baby goat with almonds) in Cómpeta, phone the Pensión La Sevillana the day previous. They have no phone, but the telephone office will get someone to take a message..."

Malaga did not impress. There was only one decent restaurant, Casa Antonio Martín (still there), although the Bella Mare, 12km east, was satisfactory.

Pohren was very human and liked to shake hands and embrace people. If he visited Malaga today, with its teeming bars and restaurants, but with everyone socially distanced, he might wonder whether he had mistakenly landed on another planet.