In case you missed it, last Friday a lovely and deeply meaningful story, called "The miracle of the Latkes", by Julia from "Writings in the raw", led to a discussion on family recipes, grandmas, traditions and how something apparently simple, like food, can become a transcendent part of your inner family culture. A comment in the thread (by Granola) summarized it best:
"The times when I have prepared the recipes of my mother and grandmother and great grandmother and great aunts are some of the most mundane and meaningful of my life. It’s as if a very fine and strong thread is connecting us, through moving and illness and death and new things; there’s a power in it that I think is the closest thing in this world to real magic."
Or like Laura Esquivel, author of "Como agua para chocolate" (Like water for chocolate), put it in this interview* for the BBC:
"... (la cocina) es un gran laboratorio de alquimia. Es un lugar sagrado donde uno no sólo está en contacto con los cuatro elementos que conforman el mundo, jugando con ellos, sino que entra en comunión con el verdadero origen y con algo más allá....El acto de cocinar es un acto de amor. Todo aquello que hace que dos cosas se conviertan en una es un acto amoroso."
And so I would like to take this opportunity to lead you readers to "Project recipe swap", organized by Laura, from The Mrs. Makes, "as a little nod to all those women in our lives who have lovingly taught us their heirloom recipes, let us lick the cake spoon and learnt their favourites by heart." Anyone in the world can participate, you just have to email her / comment on this post, she will then send you a questionnaire, pair you up with someone, to whom you will send a recipe. You will of course receive a recipe as well and after you make it you can report it back to her so as to put a giant recipe file. It sounds like fun! Snail mail! Cooking! Sharing!
So for those curious, it is actually very easy to make this dish. You just boil some potatoes and peel them. In the meantime you should cook a traditional sausage (worst) according to the instructions (normally you just submerge it for 15 min in boiling water). Once your potatoes are ready you mash them with a little bit of water, milk and butter and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg (and maybe some chilli powder) while on a low fire. You should then add your vegetables (normally shredded curly kale, but really, anything can do), and mix until it reaches the consistency and taste you desire.
You proceed to eat it with the sausage (and a little parmesan cheese if you're like me). Funny story: when we were in the UK we were invited to a very typical British restaurant. And what does the boy order? A dish called "kale mash" which was essentially stamppot (except of course it was drowned in gravy).
*BBC Mundo.com. La literatura es un acto de amor. Entrevista a Laura Esquivel. 22 de Julio 2005.