Spain, now considered the new France, is renowned for all kinds of delightful foods, many of which I would never dream of approaching with a knife and fork. Spain's cows yield some of the best veal, and the country is also known for wild boar and fish. Last but not least is the fine wine, Albariño being one of the most popular.
The fact that I'm a non-drinking vegetarian in no way diminishes my love for Spain or my desire to go there. It's deep in my roots. My grandmother on my mother's side, a Breton, was from Spain, and her lineage of gifted musicians and writers traces back to that country. I would love to go to Spain and eat there. To see flamenco and jotas, danced by real gypsies -- if there are any left. I was raised dancing jotas and watching my mother -- who was a dancer before she became a writer -- dance flamencos, red heels sending dust into the air, denting the wood platform in her studio. Her handsome head cocked, she raised her arms, fingers snapping fire. She aroused the sleeping world with the rat-a-tat of her castanets. When my parents traveled to Spain years ago, my mother got up on a stage to dance with gypsies and my father, Iowa-born and conservative by nature, was so moved, he even clapped his hands to the music -- perhaps even to the rhythm!
When I go to Spain, I will be sure to dine at Restaurante Solla in Pontevedra. Chef Pepe Solla's signature dish -- a poached egg with black olives on toast -- is one of those items on my dream menu. What does Pontevedra look like? What does it feel like? I dream of strolling in sandals along cobble-stoned streets alongside the sea, a stick of fresh bread under my arm, the waft of peasant food leading me on. I can taste those olive-laced eggs now.