A couple of months ago I visited the 2008 Roux Scholar, Daniel Cox in Spain to see how his stage was progressing at El Raco de Can Fabes, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant run by chef, Santi Santamaria in the hills above Barcelona. I’ve been writing up an article based on the trip, which will appear in the first issue of Caterer and Hotelkeeper in the New Year.
While researching the article, I found an interesting essay by Santamaria Relais & Chateaux website, in which he discusses the relationship between Catalan cuisine, history and culture. In it, he refers to a 14th century Catalan cookbook written by Fransesc Eiximenis, who delivers an amusing tract on table manners that carries some good advice for anyone spending Christmas with their extended family:
- Take care not to lick your fingers or anything else.
- Never for any reason take the choicest foods that you find before you.
- Never wear a belt or overly-tight garment to table.
- Under no circumstances ever scratch your head or any other part of your body while at table.
- Never blow your nose into your bare hand, make any noise or blow your nose at table with your head raised; if you wish to sneeze, lower your head.
- Conversation among guests must be on happy, pleasant topics that will not offend anyone.
- Never refuse any meat that is offered to you.
- When you are a guest, see that you arrive on time and do not keep your hosts waiting.
- Never yawn at table under any circumstances.
By the way, you’ve only got until 23 January to enter the 2009 Roux Scholarship.