Several years ago when I was in my 30s, I was at a lovely restaurant with my mother and father. I cannot remember what I was eating but I must have liked it. I do remember making some kind of swooning sounds. Or I remember my father’s reaction to my swooning sounds. “You sure like food, don’t you,” he said. And I replied, with my mouth full, “What’s not to like?”
In his book, The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand, the late writer Jim Harrison writes, “I would like to avoid here the merest suggestion that there is anything wrong with my food and wine obsession.” I, too, would like to avoid the same thing. As Harrison says, eating well is simply “part of a life fully lived.”
Pimientos de padrón originate in Northwest (Galicia) Spain, but I first tasted them in Southwest France. It was 2012, and I was spending my second summer in France along the Mediterranean and not far from the Spanish border. It is a region known as Catalonia. Officially an autonomous community in Spain, with its capital city Barcelona, Catalonia once included Spain and France. On the French side, the region today is called Roussillon, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French department of Pyrenees-Orientales (Eastern Pyrenees).