Pastel de Navidad are a delicious Spanish dessert that you and your family are sure to love.
If you want to celebrate Christmas in Spain, you’re going to have to take a nap first. Christmas dinner is traditionally eaten at midnight on Christmas Eve after the family has attended mass together.
The festivities, which include singing, do not end until very early in the morning. According to a Spanish song, “This is the good night, it is not meant for sleep.”
The next day, Christmas Day, the family again returns to church. Presents are not exchanged until the Feast of the Three Kings, when the three wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus.
But you don’t have to wait until January to enjoy these delicious treats. Try this recipe from Cooking Clarified and see if these don’t become one of your new favorites. Feliz Navidad!
Today marks the first day of the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, a Catholic religious holiday in Spain that is most closely associated with the running of the bulls.
Saint Fermin is believed to have been the son of a Roman senator who converted to Christianity and later became a priest. He was martyred in France in AD 303.
The San Fermin festival begins on July 6 with a rocket launch from a balcony of Pamplona’s city hall. The next day there is a procession in which a statue of Saint Fermin is paraded through the streets joined by dancers, musicians, and the “gigantes” and “cabezudos” (giants and big-heads).
The running of the bulls takes place on July 7 and continues each day of the festival, which lasts until July 14. Runners are pursued by six bulls and six steers down a roughly half-mile route that ends at the bullring in Pamplona. Before the run begins, participants pray to Saint Fermin and chant three times asking for his protection.
The run begins when a firecracker is set off to alert the runners that the bulls have been released. Since hundreds of people participate, the firecracker signal is necessary so that people will be prepared to start running. Although approximately 15 people have been killed running from the bulls, about 250 people are injured every year, usually from falls.
You must remember this, couscous is just couscous . . .
OK, those aren’t the words to the song, but that was the sentiment of the cooking class I took at my community college this week. It was a class on Moroccan food – and it was awesome!
As usual, I took a lot of pictures of the food and I had a great time meeting new people, tasting new cuisine, sharing ideas, recipes, insider foodie information (don’t tell the feds!). But what I really loved learning about is our interconnectedness. Food really is a tie that binds.
In between sauteing chicken or braising lamb or marinating shrimp, the chef talked about how food is our common denominator.
It’s the thing that was left behind when countries were invaded.
It’s the common language of troubled areas of the world who seemingly have nothing on which they can agree.
It’s a map of where and how people lived – and shared their knowledge – centuries ago.
Like a lot of people, I have a busy life, and it takes something really important to convince me to break up my son’s routine and take an evening away from him.
But when I can come home and tell him about how and why people in Spain and North Africa both love pastillas and why people in Morocco, Lebanon, and Israel all love couscous, I feel like I’m not just doing something for me. I’m also giving him just a little more knowledge or insight that will help him go where he needs to in life.
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