of the World
18th birthday, Guy!
Devon November 2, 2005 Today is Guy's 18th birthday! It's hard
to believe how quickly the years have gone by. First as a baby, then
as a young boy, Guy travelled with us on our research trips, discovering
and tasting new foods and, yes, perhaps just a bit of wine, too. Here's
a little story I wrote many years ago about the year we spent in Spain
when Guy was three years old. It is part of a series called “Chico
y Yo — travels in España with a boy of the world”.
of the World
lived in Italy a few years ago, and Chico was just a baby (and was then
called ‘Guido’), how he loved the foods: great bowls of
ragù, pasta of all types, marinated vegetables and fish
for antipasti, and of course, gelati, especially his
favourite, tartufo. In the Portuguese Algarve he has always
enjoyed with us platters of the lovely, sweet small clams known as ameijôas,
steamed simply in garlic, olive oil, and wine, and sprinkled with coentra—
freshly chopped coriander.
summer in Spain, Chico has not particularly been enjoying the foods.
Now that he is four he is more strong-minded, and will no longer eat
whatever is put in front of him, simply because we want him to.
Dad, I don't like it,” he whined, when he tried the pruebas
de morcilla, an exquisite cazuelita of spicy fried blood
sausage from Extremadura. Or else, at the famous Casa Bigote in Sanlúcar
de Barrameda, he sealed his lips together tightly and wouldn’t
so much as even taste the guiso de pulpo. You would have thought
we were trying to feed him poison instead of that exquisite seafood
medley of tender octopus stewed in spices and wine.
it was my mistake that morning when he and I cycled into Puerto de Santa
María for mid-morning tapas (Kim was in bed, struck down after
a surfeit of mariscos), and I ordered menudo. The
tripe and chickpeas were abit strong even for me, but delicious nonetheless.
though, is beginning to come good. At Romerijo’s, we purchased
paperwrapped cones of fried puntillitas (the tiniest, sweetest
baby squid you can imagine), pijotas (baby hake which you eat,
bones and all), and chocos (small cuttlefish), and enjoyed
them down by the waterfront, eating them with our fingers, me washing
down that simple repast with a half bottle of Quinta fino, he with a
freshly-squeezed zumo de naranja. By the Coto de Doñana,
he ate with gusto the most delicious baked fish maccarones.
And, on a balmy, late-spring evening, we sat at an outdoor table under
the stars, the water virtually lapping at our feet, and tucked lustily
into a platter of almejas a la marinera.
he refused even to try one.
I said, frowning, “I thought you were a boy of the world.”
am a boy of the world,” he rejoined, and sucked the sweet clams
noisily, one at a time, until he had a small mound of empty shells proudly
in front of him.
return to England after five months on the road, his mother asked him
what he would most like for tea.
of the world held his chin in his hand, and considered deeply the myriad
think,” he said, after some moments of serious consideration and
deliberation, “I think... a dippy egg.”
© Marc Millon 2005