Eating delicious paella and tapas. Jumping off of a boat into the Mediterranean. Visiting a Spanish vineyard. I somehow managed to do all of these things and more in the past week thanks to my Food and Identity course. For five days, I was transported to the electrifying atmosphere of Barcelona and stunning Spanish countryside.
I was able to try some of the most delicious food I have ever had in my life. Not only that, but some of it was food I had never even heard of before. Almost immediately after arriving, I was sitting beachside eating paella for the first time and being served wine at Chiringuito Las Sardinitas. From then on, the week continued to be an ongoing experience of “culinary firsts.” I enjoyed shopping in Spanish markets, including La Boqueria. I was able to see how the people of Barcelona buy their food from local markets. I was in awe of how expansive La Boqueria was. It was incredible to see stalls there that had most likely been there for multiple generations. It was easy to tell that the people working in the markets were passionate about their craft. The vineyard was more of a personal experience. We were basically invited to someone’s home and enjoyed an incredible meal there. Sitting around a long table with my classmates and watching the sunset in the countryside while eating homemade food was something that defied all of my already high expectations. Of course, going to a restaurant that has received a Michelin star was an experience I will never forget, either. The 3-hour long bus ride to Compartir in Cadaqués was completely worth it. Getting served over ten courses of a mixture of traditional and modern Spanish food for hours on end was absolutely worth the trip. I enjoyed seeing how experimental the chefs had gotten with their modern dishes. Some of the food came in forms that I had never known was even possible.
The trip, and this class in general, is not just about me stuffing my face with great tasting food. Although, that is a big part of it. The class is also about understanding food culture. In class, and during the trip to Barcelona, we have studied how food shapes the identity of nations and individuals. It was eye-opening to see the cultural differences between Barcelona and Copenhagen in regard to food. It is fascinating to see how different countries value different meals and what their respective eating patterns are. Very much like my Session 1 class, Meaning of Style, Food and Identity allows me to see how what we consume defines us. I look forward to this final week of class and cannot believe that my time here in Copenhagen with DIS is nearly over.