Amanda Bennett: A Year in Zaragoza, Spain

Letters from Home January 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — psychohistoria @ 9:33 am

The palm tree in the main entrance to our school covered in snow!! (taken before Christmas break)

Yesterday I received a letter from my grandmother. (Thank you!!!) Her questions have inspired a blog post.

Zaragoza does not really get snow. Occasionally – twice – it has snowed those big, heavy, fat flakes that are usually followed by rain and washed away.

Our terrace (with Pilar in the background) and the thin blanket of snow. (Taken before Christmas break - it was gone by the time I got home from school)

The weather doesn’t really get below freezing. Spain is a country with widely varied climates. The summer tends to be hot all over, but the south usually maintains a bit of warmth throughout the winter months. However, this year it has snowed in Sevilla – something which hadn’t happened since 1956! Madrid is also covered in white, a rare enough occurence to shut about the entire city down. Here in Zaragoza, however, we are enjoying temperatures in the 30s, and mixed sun and clouds.

We are still eating the roscón from Three Kings Day! Cleaning out the fridge is rather difficult in my house because between my host grandmother and I, we are always cooking and baking new things to fill it and the cupboards, too! Since receiving a most wonderful package from Janet and Harry which contained measuring cups and spoons, and getting mini muffin tins from my aunt, I have not had to improvise nearly as much, and hence the quality of my baked goods has improved still more! I am also in possession of the massive cookbook “The Joy of Cooking”, which the school director loaned me, so I have pretty much an infinite amount of trustworthy recipes.

Although successful baking endeavors aren’t as exciting to write about, I’ve made some wonderful pancakes in the hostel in Valencia, lentil soups of various sorts, roasted beets (purchased from an organic farmer’s market that happens once a month near my apartment) with a cream-cheese garlic sauce, a cheesecake with a lemon curd topping and a crust made from digestive cookies (the closest thing to graham crackers around) – they have Philidelphia cream cheese here, but it is wicked expensive, so I took a chance on “queso para untar” (spreading cheese) which turned out to indeed be the same thing, lemon ginger muffins, apple muffins…I like to keep myself busy and my friends’ stomachs full!

I love the fact that my host grandparents live downstairs. We share a newspaper, and if I run out of ingredients, I can just pop down and ask for a lemon or a handful of almonds. I can also walk to a supermarket in 2 minutes, a fruit store in 3, and a cheese place in 4. Talk about convenience stores…

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