English translation of "Gastronomia", one of the series of "El Pais Vasco, ven y cuentalo" 2nd edition, January 1993 Author: Patxi Anton Idroquilis Editorial: Gobierno Vasco, Departamento de Comercio, Consuma, y Turismo. Viceconsejeria de Turismo. Translated unofficially by Diane E. Graves


Introduction:

The gastronomic habits of a people are, as are so many other customs, a good clue in order to approach its culture, and any understanding of the history and the daily life of Euzkadi must necessarily filter through the gastronomy of Euzkadi.

It is vital to acknowledge that the traditional and popular diet of the Basques has been a sparing and frugal one. However, we have learned how to convert the simple harvest that is extracted so laboriously from the sea and the earth into works of culinary art, respecting the character of some choice materials that rarely endure complicated preparations, and prudently assimilating external influences upon our cuisine.

What is understood as traditional Basque cuisine has remained practically unaltered through time, its secrets passed along in the domestic hearth by the women, and in gastronomic societies by the men. In the mid-seventies, aware of the risk of this tradition becoming decrepit and abandoned, we, the generation of young chefs, are undertaking the renovation of the Basque cuisine, combining its traditional values with the more universal culinary and dietary trends. Today, the traditional cuisine and the restored Basque cuisine coexist in harmony, and they share the purpose that gastronomy in Euzkadi has always held, that of becoming a pleasure that we, the Basque people, offer to all our visitors.


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