Misunderstandings

These are often of a cultural nature, like believing that tapas can be eaten with a coffee, or an authentic paella or 'arroz' should be cooked in an oven

ANDREW J. LINN

Of all the books about Spanish food and wine that have been published over the last half decade, possibly the worst have been written by Americans.

Travelling around a foreign country, eating in restaurants and collecting recipes from co-operative natives should be the easiest thing in the world. Far from it apparently.

WINE OF THE WEEK

  • Ramos Paul 2006

  • A notable wine for several reasons, not least being its excellent quality Made with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot, it is heavy and very tasty. Two years in wood, and although quite expensive, worth splashing out on occasionally, above all when someone needs to be convinced that Malaga reds can hold their own against more well-known regions. Around 34 euros.

The lazy way is to translate an already published book from its original idiom to that of the proposed published version, although little things like weights and measures, names of ingredients, and references to cooking utensils, can be hidden traps.

Within the EU, we are all singing from the same hymn sheet, but globally there are significant areas for potential misunderstandings.

These are often of a cultural nature, like believing that tapas can be eaten with a coffee, or an authentic paella or 'arroz' should be cooked in an oven.

The specific culprit in this case is referred to as a 'Paella... for a covered barbecue, Paella al Weber' which turns out to be the name of the manufacturer of the barbecue, not the style of paella.

One star recipe is swordfish with pine nuts and raisins, a method I have never heard of. Marmitako, the famous Basque tuna dish, is introduced as a fisherman's dish to be prepared on a boat - but mentions oven time! Duck with pears is seemingly a well-known Spanish dish, but, rather like the venison with shallot sauce, is clearly the author's invention. This last is notable for a listed ingredient of eight ounces of cold butter. Is there another option?