Sixteen years ago, Camila fell in love with Spain. She was on a two-month journey during a hiatus before graduate school, and little did she know that two months would eventually turn into fifteen years. She fell in love with the Spanish lifestyle: the busy, sun-filled cities with streets full of people chatting away day and night, the small villages with their plazas, fresh markets, narrow streets and long siestas, the ancient Gothic churches nestled in winding pedestrian roads. And especially the food, oh the food, completely in tune with the way of life. Lunchtime stretched out for hours, through course after course of olive oil drenched, fresh, colorful, seasonal goodness. In the evenings, tapas crawls were a must, bar hopping with a glass of red wine and something to nibble on so as to line one’s stomach. Always eat more than you drink, and you’ll never get too drunk, were the wise words a tabernero from Extremadura once offered as a welcome. And during that trip, of course, she also fell in love with a Spaniard. They met in Madrid, the city where lunch is at 3pm and dinner is at midnight. A few months later they both moved to Barcelona, so they could be close to the Mediterranean, eat fresh seafood and vegetables year-round. A few years later, a Ph.D. in Humanities as well as culinary training allowed her to teach American students abroad about Spanish literature, culture and, yes, food!
She recently relocated to the Bay Area and is heeding her own students’ advice, bringing a taste of the Spanish way of life through food to Americans. She is so happy to teach you her favorite recipes and cooking techniques from all the regions of Spain, and, hopefully, make your kitchen a bit Spanish, too. The name of her newly founded company, Sobremesa, implies what she loves most about Spanish food culture: its social aspect. A meal is not a meal unless friends and family are at the table. When she is not teaching, you can find her riding her bike with her madrileño husband and two Catalan kids around Berkeley, from farmers’ market to farmer’s market.
Here Camila explains her culinary adventures at 18 Reasons: