buber.net > Basque > Food > Gastronomy: Introduction
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by Tr: Diane E. Graves
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
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
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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