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Asturias: On the Road Again (Mario Batali, PBS)

 
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is
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:59 am    Post subject: Asturias: On the Road Again (Mario Batali, PBS) Reply with quote

For all the foodies out there (did I just see Bob raise his hand?), here is a PBS show on Spain's culinary traditions by region that aired iin September 2008. Co-hosted by chef Mario Batali, food critic Mark Bittman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Claudia Bassols, a Catalan actor.

The show aired a partially Asturian episode that takes place near Cangues d'Onis:

http://www.spainontheroadagain.com/vv_asturias.shtml

Here is a Youtube clip, courtesy of Asturian blogger 'Fueyaenblancu':

http://fueyaenblancu.nireblog.com/post/2009/11/02/si-no-mi-lo-habla-en-asturianu-no-mentero

The blurb about Asturias on the PBS website is as follows:

"Asturias is known for its rugged coastal cliffs and its mountainous interior—it’s a rough and tumble kind-of place, gruff and husky. Asturians, though, are some of the friendliest, warmest Spaniards around. Mario and Mark spent time with Pilar Sanchez, who could easily be considered the Ultimate Grandma, in her kitchen, cooking chicken and apples. They also traveled through the mountains to make fabada, the iconic Asturian bean stew, with a group of generous, local chefs. Needless to say, Asturias, a bit like the tough guy with the big heart, is distinguished by the improbable combination of an aggressive landscape and a cozy spirit."


Last edited by is on Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Maestro Tomberi



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 170
Location: Gijón, Asturias

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He he heee... I have seen the program and I wanted so badly to comment about it Very Happy (Thanks to Is for putting in the "first stone")

I think it's a very amusing and notorious effort to show the immense diversity of the Spanish cuisine, as well as the shown places and idiosincrasy, demolishing (almost) all the topics anyone could have before watching it.

Regarding to the episode involving Asturias, gotta love the most the part when they went to Silviella and stayed with the old woman as well as the lovely insights of Cangas de Onís... altough I'm very disappointed to see that Gijón; having with a difference more sidrerías than any other county, does not appear there.

My pros of the program:

- Undoubtfully the great interest and care taken in making the production, turning it into a charming road trip; and in my honest opinion, the way Bario Batali dives into the different "kitchens" participating in many tasty confections.

My cons:

- Despite having a tremendous love for the country and it cuisine, I have always seen Gwyneth Paltrow tremendously picky ("repunante", as we would say here Razz ) with meals. That and the "cha-cha-cha" tune Laughing
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is
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
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Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your comments are very funny, M.T. Where did you see the PBS episode that takes place partially in Asturias? I've looked on YouTube and only found segments of the show.

About demolishing stereotypes, I agree it looks like it does just that and the road trip idea is pretty cool. But other than the Willie Nelson jingle, the soundtrack just reinforces tired stereotypes of Spain.

A better idea would have been to work on the sound design for each region so viewers could get the right mood. Instead, it's the usual canned flamenco tech which is palpably out-of-place in Asturias, an Atlantic culture.

Btw, Mario Batali lived in Madrid when he was in high school.
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Maestro Tomberi



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 170
Location: Gijón, Asturias

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A better idea would have been to work on the sound design for each region so viewers could get the right mood. Instead, it's the usual canned flamenco tech which is palpably out-of-place in Asturias, an Atlantic culture.


I wholeheartedly agree with the thing of making a soundtrack for each region... altough I can't think on the team researching a chotis for Madrid, a sardana for Cataluña or a zortziko for Euskadi, to tell some examples... that would obliterate them IMHO Laughing.

Anyways, the whole flamenco thing is something that pisses me off a lot.
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Betty



Joined: 26 Jan 2006
Posts: 82
Location: Centerburg, Knox County, Ohio USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw the series on our PBS station last December. It was via the BBC. I recorded the series and have seen them again a few times. It's great fun
to see a familiar city, landmark and, of course the food!! My fear is that DirecTV will (efficiently) delete the programs from my list one day.
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Terechu
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Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 1557
Location: GIJON - ASTURIAS

PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw a couple of chapters, but never got the Asturian part, because I frankly couldn't stand these four "superpijos" filming themselves while driving in a Mercedes convrtible, eating in Spain's most exclusive restaurants and talking with their mouths full. Plus Gwyneth Paltrow, who doesn't eat meat (or was it pork?), is just not the most suitable host for a program on Spanish cuisine.
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Maestro Tomberi



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 170
Location: Gijón, Asturias

PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ja jo ja-jota!! Toooma ya, Terechuu!! Laughing Lo de superpijos me llegó al alma (si bien lo son un rato). No estaría mal que lo hicieran en plan Labordeta andando con la mochila al hombro...

En cuanto a lo de la Repunante Paltrow he de decir que si bien no comía jamón de entrada (es judía), no come animales de cuatro patas desde que cumplió los veinte años (según alguno de los capítulos) por cuestiones más que nada de conciencia; no porque no le gustase su carne, ya que también en otro programa admitió haberlos comido cuando era más joven.
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Art
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
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Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're definitely right that it'd be hard for a vegetarian to eat in Asturian restaurants!

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¡Tienes toda razón de que sería difícil para un vegetariano comer en los restaurantes asturianos!
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is
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
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Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah it's damn hard to get by as a vegetarian, but you can get by as a pescetarian (eat fish & seafood, but no mammals).

At least you could until the Spanish fishing fleets (Yes, the Galicians, Asturians and Basques) depleted the Atlantic of fish higher up in the food chain (tuna, for instance).

Now it's expensive to be a pescetarian, even in Asturias. The cheapest fish I find there is xarda (mackerel).

There was hardly a costera this summer. The costera is the season in which blue-fin swims into the North Atlantic on its yearly migration in pursuit of smaller species, usually June to September.
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Art
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe with the decline in availability of fish Asturians will get more interested in vegetarian options. What amazes me is that Asturians don't like fabes (beans) without meat. They're fantastic alone. I always see them with meat (especially "compagno," which is the chorizo, chorizo, morcilla, tocino and lacón) or seafood.

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Tal vez con la disminución de la disponibilidad de pescado los asturianos tendrán más interés en opciones vegetarianas. Me sorprende que a los asturianos les gustan las fabes sin carne. Son fantásticas por su cuenta. Siempre las veo con la carne (especialmente "compagno," que es el chorizo, chorizo, morcilla, tocino y lacón), o con mariscos.
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Bob
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I may have an occasional vegetarian meal (depending on my mood), I'm a confirmed carnivore. On the veggie side of things, in addition to fabes and lentils de Puy (the tiny green ones), I'm especially fond of parsnips, good tiny potatoes of several varieties, carrots, onions, finocchio, tiny mixed lettuce, romaine, turnips and rutabagas. Usually I have them with meat or fish or shellfish.
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