Another weekend, another family get-together and this week, for Easter, we made Empanadas. Well, the girls made the empanadas and the boys made the Paella. Luckily the ingredients came prepared by one of my sister in laws so we just had to shape, fill and cook the pies.
Above we have (left to right) peas, lamb, balls of dough and a mix of chicken and pork. The peas and meat mixture are seasoned with salt, pepper and pimenton. The peas also have spring onions chopped in. The sausage type thing at the top is sobrasada a spicy soft meat sausage which is a staple around here, and in the small tub there are lardons.
Empanadas are not my favourite. They are quite rich and heavy and one small one is quite enough as a meal by itself, for me, let alone accompanied by a heavy main meal. But any food which involves communal making and eating is about so much more than the food itself, right? It is the whole day of sitting and chatting, shouting and noise, gossip and company. Kids surrounded by family, playing hide and seek inside or football outside or joining in the cooking. We make enough to each have a bite on the day and for everyone to take home and freeze. Last year we had the empanada-rama only a month or so after my mother in law died. At that time we still gathered in her house for our weekly meals and it was one of those times that was full of the usual noise and laughter but also heavy with the absence of a loved one. She was so much in our hearts as we kneaded and poked and filled and pleated. Months and months later my brother in law messaged us all to say he had finally cooked the last ones of the batch (so much later in fact that we were all doubtful of their edibleness) and how it had reminded him of those times and that house, so many other memories of countless other meals made and shared together.
In my family it was only us 5 and it was Sunday mornings. Thick american style pancakes and thin crepes, bacon, eggs, sausages and garlic mushrooms, orange juice and strawberries with cream. Slipping the dog scraps under the table. Noise and shouting, fighting, joking as my Dad prepared the feast and we prepared the table.
Different countries thousands of miles apart, different cultures, different food, language, time but essentially the same. Family connecting in a shared space, just for a while before they all scatter back to their separate lives. Beautiful, ordinary, moments that hold us together.