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on 6 October 2009
This is more than just a book about food. It's a record of a cultural journey, a travel journal, an analysis of the national psyche and a relaxing, informative read.

What struck me most is that the writer is not precious about food the way so many food writers are. A real pleasure and I am so happy I chanced upon this book. I am going to look out for some of his other work next.
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on 8 September 2009
A look at and a taste of the real Spain. Properly researched and written by someone who actually knows the country - not something you can say about a number of other recent books on Spain and how she eats. This and Menu del Dia by Rohan Daft are by far the best recent books on traditional Spanish food.
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on 26 July 2009
This book is a must for everyone who wants to find out the stories behind the regional food of Spain. This book is so well written and researched - a joy to savour each page. I am keeping this book on my bookshelf and am planning my trips to San Sebastian and the Basque country as a direct result. This work is of such high quality. Thank you Mr Richardson for such a fine book.
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on 13 July 2011
I go through phases with books, this one came during a period of reading travel writing food books. Paul Richardson's writing style isn't as good as a few others I have read recently and for that reason I cannot give this book five stars, but overall this was an enjoyable read.

He tells the story of how he came to journalism, and through a chance opportunity, to Spain and its food. He quite quickly moved from London, albeit to an Spanish island rather than Spain itself, and set about uncovering the food. It's not just about someone who goes to the country and eats a lot of paella, through living there for many years, the author gets under the skin of real and everyday Spanish food. I was looking forward to the section about the fish market, but it was all too brief. The book does cover a lot of ground, and there was plenty to keep me interested. It just isn't a book I'd read more than once.
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on 1 August 2009
If you love food or you love Spain then this is a fantastic book. If you love Spain and food then this the perfect book
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on 20 September 2011
Everyone has their own taste when it comes to food and the same goes for books about food and cookery.

I would never consider eating octopus, sushi or glazed duck, for example, or reading celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver or Heston Blumenthal, for example, but many people do.

I hate so say this but even though I am a Scotsman, I have always been a bit queasy when faced with haggis although I did my patriotic duty and wired in with the backing of a dram or two.

However, I have always been interested in reading about other people's opinions about food.

About 40 years ago I had a Penguin edition of a recipe book by Len Deighton. I thought his spy novels were terrible but loved this book.

I have a tattered copy of Elizabeth David's "French Provincial Cooking" which I bought over 20 years ago and have read a thousand times. I am not sure she knew French cuisine as much as she claimed and she comes over as a latter-day Lady Bracknell but it's still enjoyable to read (as are the memoirs of the American Elizabeth David, Julia Child).

Now, to the main course. This book is not bad but it is not that good either. It's a so-so meal you are not going to complain about but you're not going to rave about it either.

The author has lived in Spain for a couple of decades, has established roots and knows the language unlike someone like Peter Mayle who has made his reputation writing clichéd rubbish about France and the French.

Richardson takes us around the country and presents the different kinds of cuisine and give us some historical background along with a few personal anecdotes.

Unfortunately, that is not enough and he tends to plough the same old path.

He goes somewhere - Galicia, Catalonia, Asturias - and visits the market, has lunch at a famous restaurant, talks to the chef and has a marvelous meal. He drops Christian names as though he is a friend of the people he meets and then sets off to the next place.

There are lots of banal comments, folksy quotes, too much detail - the different kinds of beans in one region, for example - and no-one he spoke to will ever be offended. A little more criticism and honesty would have been welcome.

Some parts are good, e.g. the chapter on olive oil, but overall this is a book to be nibbled at rather than eaten in one go - tapas rather than a full meal.
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on 4 August 2015
A beautiful book about Spain and Spanish cuisine and the history of Spanish food. Paul writes beautifully about his adopted country. The culinary Laurie Lee. Wonderful writing style. A must read for lovers of Spain and of Cocina espanola
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on 12 May 2013
I bought this as a gift for a friend and she tells me she has thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Will probably buy one for myself.
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on 18 February 2015
lovely book, good service
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