Wednesday, March 04, 2009


For as long as I can remember, one of the ways I (and we) mark time is through all things motorcycling. And this time of year, when the European motorcycle racing season gets underway (last weekend, WSB at Phillip Island...way to go Ben!) and we start to think about being able to get our own bikes out of hibernation, I always start dreaming of Spain.


If I could pack my bags and move anywhere in the world, I'm certain that one of the many gorgeous, ancient little towns in Spain would be high on my list. Look at a map and find a place that's tucked into a puddle of twisty roads, and that's where you'd find me. I'd grow lavender, raise pigs and goats and make cheese. And jamon, of course. You can come over for lunch. I'll make you a bocadilla.

My pangs are especially acute this Spring, on account of having used up my very last teaspoon of this:

Purchased right in the place where it was made, in a tiny shop in Jarandilla, this is the one and only souvenier I brought back from my trip to Spain. Because trying to cram two weeks of stuff onto the back of a motorcycle can put a serious damper on a girl's shopping mojo.

That was a few years ago, and this tin has been around since, nestled among my other spices, ready and waiting to provide a hit of that intense, distinctive sensory memory that is smoked Spanish paprika. And as spices are wont to do, it lost a lot of it's oomph long ago, but it didn't matter because just extracting it from my spice shelf, admiring the pretty tin and prying open the lid was enough to bring me back.

And yea, I could just go order some more (from my favorite Spanish food hookup,, but that feels like cheating.
Instead, I'm taking it as my official notice to start planning (and saving!), and to set a date for my return stock-up trip :)

BTW, I think I may have mentioned it before, but if you want to see and know and drool over Spain, the show "Spain: On the Road Again" on PBS is AMAZING with a capital A. Talk about fits of nostalgia. It's a lot about food (two of the stars are Mario Batalli and Mark Bittman from the NYT) but it also takes you on a bunch of sightseeing adventures, foodie and otherwise. It's like eating your way around Spain but without the calories and with plenty of siestas and spa breaks. My favorite host on the series is the Spanish actress Claudia Bassols, who is so fun and smart and funny and freaking gorgeous that you just can't take your eyes off her.
I think there's only ten or twelve episodes total, but it seems like it's been playing in reruns almost constantly, and it's completely worth your TiVo space.


Spain, On the Road Again is freakin' awesome! I love how Bittman seems totally unnerved by Claudia. It's adorable!
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