Not so many years ago, hunger pushed people, even children, into the mountains. Without more permission than the one of the survival they collected, fished and hunted what the mountain offered. They were known as "mountain workers" and today they would be called "poachers," because of that illegal nature of the activity. But yesterday he fed the families, who built their own kitchen, capable of breaking the hardness of the wild. In one of the most unpopulated areas of Spain, Edorta Lamo, chef of the Arrea house in Santa Cruz de Campezo, pays homage to his grandparents' dishes, made with fruits, crabs and trout, pigeons and wild boars, « those fetish products of poaching, ”says Lamo, who worked in New Jersey (United States) and San Sebastián until he moved with his family to the town where you had family roots.
“It's the Alava mountain, bordering Navarra and La Rioja,” says Lamo in Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión. «It is the story of being a border, of the little known land and the most depopulated of Euskadi, of difficult accessibility and extreme climate that defines our culture and our society. I return to the time when the properties of the land ruled over people, who were not given the numbers to support the family. Survival is born, accompanied by sadness, hunger, suffering, but also with ingenuity, courage and claw, in one of the worst valued trades in our history: poaching. A way to fish, collect or hunt illegally ».
That furtivism by necessity cannot be compared with the current one (well-armed hunters with an athletic and egotistical character). Most of the time the neighbors of these impoverished regions were disarmed. One of the people who inspires Lamo is 94 years old, and began to go to the mountain to "win some dogs" at age nine. «What I liked most was to catch crabs and trout», recalls Julián Foronda Zurbano, the last worker of the mountain, the last poacher.
In the seventies industrialization and migrations arrived in the big cities, and these practices were disappearing. The townspeople hid their past. «He didn't get along with pride, but with low self-esteem and shame», says Lamo, who regrets the poor documentation of the subject, without being an obstacle for his kitchen to focus on that past. «Working in the virgin environment that provides us with 95% of the pantry in a radius of 30 km is a gift for us in Arrea. It is what our grandparents did, although now it is considered revolutionary. We surround ourselves with neighbors who tell us how they collected, fished, hunted.
(tagsToTranslate) tribute (t) gastronomic (t) wit (t) poachers (t) hungry