10 March 2011

"Encuentro entre culturas", or how to make foreign immigrants feel welcome

Alcalá being the birthplace of Spain´s first Minister of Equal Rights, Bibiana Aido, the townswomen take International Women's Day very seriously.  Just as Alcalá's St George's Day celebrations are spread out over three days, so events for the the Día Internacional de las Mujeres (8 March) ran from Monday till Thursday, ranging from from workshops on equality in the workplace to a "juvenile gymkhana".

AMAG, the Asociación de Mujeres de Alcalá de los Gazules, has members of all ages and social backgrounds, and organises social, charitable and educational events throughout the year.  They are especially keen to reach out to the town´s fifty or so resident foreigners, ourselves included.  Last year we were invited to speak to several dozen alcalainas about why we had moved here, and also about women´s roles in our own countries.  This year was slightly less scary; they organised an "Encuentro entre culturas", a meeting between cultures, where we could all get together (chaps too), chat informally and sample home-cooked food.

The event took place in the lower function room of the Hotel San Jorge, and included an impressive display of old photographs put together by the Adult Education Centre, who also maintain the Ethnographic Museum in the Calle Rio Verde.  They included a lot of photos of people, rather than buildings and monuments, and it would be great if they put them in their online photo gallery (which sadly has not been updated since 2006).
Local foods, including tagarninas (bottom left) and a bowl of manteca colorá 
The hosts were proud to show off their home-made comida tipica - local food - and we were treated to an overwhelming variety of tasty samples, from tortilla de esparragos (omelette made with potatoes and wild asparagus) to delicious braised pig´s liver.  But the starring role was played by a giant cauldron of gazpacho - not the chilled, smooth version you get in every tourist restaurant in Andalucia, but the hot kind, thick and filling, which was the staple diet of field workers for centuries.

Making gazpacho the good old way  - not a stick-blender in sight
How to make winter gazpacho (serves 50) 
(This should really be done out in the fields, but it was raining.)

  • Boil several kilos of skinned beefsteak tomatoes in a cauldron of water, along with some loaves of stale bread broken into chunks.  
  • Meanwhile, have your team pulverise industrial quantities of onions, garlic, parsley and red peppers in a giant wooden bowl or dornillo.  Add a cupful of salt.
  • Move the tomatoes and bread into a huge enamel bowl, using a slotted spoon.  Add the vegetable paste and mix everything together in the bowl, along with a couple of litres of olive oil and some wine vinegar.  Serve hot and eat with a fork - it should have the consistency of paella.


Tumbit.com said...

When and how does the Town celebrate International Mens day, I wonder ?

Claire Lloyd said...

Well, it falls on 19 November - so that gives you guys plenty of time to plan something for the next one!


Tumbit.com said...

Yay! Always one for equality of the sexes.