Twenty-three recipes with eighty elaborations, this is what La cocina del Jiloca offers, the traditional cookbook of this region that has been prepared over the past year in the kitchen employment workshop promoted by Inaem and the Jiloca region. Although multiple activities were carried out to train the ten students, what will remain for posterity is this project embodied in a book, in which the director of the workshop, Pilar Marzo, assures that the traditional recipes have been reinterpreted to modernize them.
-Why did you propose to produce a recipe book as part of the activities of the employment workshop?
-The project was presented from the Jiloca region. These workshops are linked to certificates of professionalism and the presentation of a project, which was a recipe book with research on the culture and traditions of the region. While researching with the students, we realized that there were many examples of traditional cookbooks and we didn’t want to do something that already existed.
-But it has to do with the training they received as leaders in general.
-Yes, it is true that the basis of the cuisine that they have been studying all this time has had this traditional basis of culture, tradition and elements that we had on hand with everything that could be found in this domain, but we wanted to modernize the recipes of Jiloca so that they do not remain in the typical traditional cookbook. We use all these elaborations that have been made here for many years and that we all learned from our grandmothers and mothers, but giving it the most modern presentation.
-How did they do it?
-It was the students who used their imagination, together with Javier, the teacher, to be able to present these dishes a little more differently.
– Quite a challenge, because it indicates that the kitchen must evolve even if it retains the ancestral.
-Exactly, what we wanted to do was not to remain stuck in the typical and to use this base which is ultimately the base of our culture and our traditions, but to make it evolve. Everyone was very happy and enthusiastic about the project.
-What is the most striking thing you have found while learning about these traditional recipes?
-The students realized that they all knew things about the gastronomic traditions of this region, which are obvious but which you neglect because we are very used to it. In the end, the important thing was that this knowledge they had was valued and that they realized that we are all part of this culture and this tradition. In the end, we used a lot of knowledge from the students to create the cookbook and we learned from each other.
-It’s also promoting local products, isn’t it?, with local and seasonal products.
– Yes, that’s it, we go back a little to the origins and we become aware so that we can relate a little more to our products. We wanted students to connect with the earth and with our environment through our products.
-In the recipe book, there is one thing that attracts a lot of attention, the borage ice cream. It exists?
-Yes, well, borage ice cream is not really our invention because it had been made before, but we wanted to complement a traditional dessert which is crispy crespillos, which are borage leaves. We thought about giving it a spin and making a dessert, and that’s how they came up with it. It was really good.
-How did the students feel about making this cookbook?
-They liked it very much, although they had moments of doubt on their part if the recipes were going to work or not, but they really felt very good introducing this innovation despite the feeling of insecurity sometimes because they didn’t know if it was would work or not.
-In the job shop, more things have been done, but it will now remain as a cookbook. How will the book be distributed?
-Before finishing the workshop we would like to make a list of places where it should be sent, and if not, that it remains in the region and can be picked up there or taken to restaurants, bars and multi-services that can help you. to interest.
-This workshop was an innovative experience throughout Aragon, how can this affect the region now?
-I hope that the employment workshop has a good impact in the region and that this course is like the precursor of other future activities, and that in the end a pool of people trained and ready to work in the restoration and hotel industry is created.
– Do you want this to continue? If it is not a new workshop of the same, training courses.
-Yes, I think that on the whole subject of hospitality, tourism and catering there are a lot of training courses that are very good. If this course or others with another theme are repeated, it would be perfect, because they are also an outlet so that people who want to train in this do not have to go far and have an opportunity here.