Workshop "Cook your story"
We’re introducing our mobile kitchens!
After the kitchen construction workshop carried out together with Enorme Studio and with the awning painted and ready to be hung up, only one thing remained: to try them out! The launch of our beloved mobile kitchens took place on Saturday 14 July, in a workshop where we invited the neighbours of Valdezarza to share some anecdote that would help us to trace the culinary memory of the neighbourhood. To do so, we asked them a few questions: Where did they go to have ice cream when they were children? And to have a picnic or a vermouth on Sundays? Where do they usually do their shopping? Who is their trusted shopkeeper? And their grandmothers’? What is that secret bar where they put the best menu of the day?
At eleven o’clock in the morning, the first attendees of the workshop began to arrive at the square. Armed with their aprons, they began to talk to each other. To break the ice, we launched a round of presentations, where each person briefly explained their history in the neighbourhood and their memories of what was cooked in the past, the uses of the square or the shops where they did their shopping when they came to live here decades ago. It was more than interesting to see how many neighbours shared memories and how those who had been in the neighbourhood all their lives were still surprised to find new faces in the neighbourhood. Marta gave us some clues as to why Valdezarza has such a peculiar and labyrinthine configuration, María introduced us to the Association Familias Enlazadas and Julián came with his mother Francisca who, at 90 years old, can explain to you step by step how to make a good fish in sauce. We give faith.
Sharing recipes and anecdotes, we started cooking: salads, orangeade and lots of fruit to fight the hot weather, and a rice with vegetables as a main dish. Some of the children were encouraged to cut strawberries, crush cashew nuts or squeeze oranges, while others signed up to participate in the fun activities that the Mico collective organised for them. Between a few, they ended up building an improvised coloured fort. Our beloved Aurelio, director of the Eugenio María De Hostos Public School – who shelters our kitchens when they are not in the square and who lent us tables and chairs for the occasion -, Óscar de La Máquina de Fotos – who wonderfully documented the whole day – and the boys from La Mina – who did the same with the video – also passed by. At the last minute, we also had a visit from Caroline de blueyellow, a project for rare aromatic plants cultivated on the outskirts of Madrid.
When we finished cooking and shouted ‘¡Valdezarza, a la mesaaa!‘, we sat down to eat, to continue sharing stories and anecdotes, and imagining future projects in the neighbourhood. With this good taste in our mouths (and great ideas for the coming months), we said goodbye to the neighbourhood until September.
Marta says that…
Antonio Machado Street separates the part of Saconia from the part of Valdezarza. They are two very similar but very different neighbourhoods, an area full of labyrinthine streets that you have to get to know well in order not to get lost or end up in an alley with no exit. I’m from the neighbourhood, I’ve always lived in and I still find it hard to get my head around the streets. When the neighbourhood was created it was full of poets, university professors, intellectuals… In fact, they wanted to name all the streets after poets, although in the end they were only allowed to name one: Antonio Machado.
The square was where the neighbourhood parties were held when I was 15 or 16 years old and was full of life. Over time, it was abandoned – I was an area I avoided going through, for example – until now, when it has been renovated and made very beautiful. This reform is slowly making people return to walk and enter the square.
Francisca says that…
I am 90 years old and I have been here since 74 to this day. I am from La Mancha, from a town in Ciudad Real called Veredas, and I came to Madrid to serve when I was 20 years old. A year after working here I met the man who has been my husband for 62 years. He worked in the San Miguel market where I went to buy, he was a butcher.
At 90 years of age, I still cook every day. I have also cooked a lot for my grandchildren, who have been eating at my house until they went to school.
> Fish in sauce recipe: Fry a little bit of onion. Once it’s fried – don’t burn it – put it away. Add water and a tablet of fish stock. Then you put the fish in flour, I usually do it with hake or whiting. If you have clams -which I always have frozen- or some prawns, add them too. In ten minutes, it’s done. And it’s super good.
> Chicken lasagna recipe: I chop a chicken breast in a mincer. Then I make some pâté and a little tomato. If I want to add some spinach, then I give it a little boil and add it too. Then I put this mixture between the layers of pasta and to the last layer I add bechamel.
María José says that…
I am from La Prospe, but I have been living in Valdezarza for eleven years. I came here because of my boyfriend, who is the local postman, and the truth is that, of all the places I’ve lived in Madrid, this is the one I feel is the most like a neighbourhood. It’s more like a town than anything else. And it must be one of the few neighbourhoods in Madrid from which you can see the mountains.
María (co-founder of the association Familias Enlazadas) says that…
My parents lived next door in Berruguete, and I grew up in the Dehesa de la Villa park, so to speak. We used to go there for picnics. When I married my boyfriend and we started a family, we came to Valdezarza. We had two children in a row and we realised that we needed to create a network between the families in the area, because motherhood alone is very heavy. This is how the association Familias Enlazadas por una Crianza Saludable was born, and we have been working with it for two years. We wanted to promote a different view of childhood and also the creation of community, of support networks between families.
Ainhoa says that…
I cook a lot of alphabet soup, noodle soup or dotted soup. And when my grandmother makes it, she also throws in carrots and chickens. With my mum and dad we cook pasta with tomato and also carbonara, hamburgers with quinoa, sesame and poppy seeds. And we also make pizza.