The mountains of Asturias are full of good things to eat and drink
Your average July afternoon in Asturias

Welcome to Eating Asturias. Here is where you can learn about the food and food culture of one of the most interesting regions of Spain.

Eating Asturias is a project that explores, documents, translates, and studies the food cultures of Asturias. It is an independent ethnography of food and eating in Asturias. It is produced from an outsider perspective – while I live in Asturias, I did not grow up here.

What do people in Asturias eat? Why do they eat those things? How do they feel about their food? What foods do they no longer eat, and why? How do people’s memories of those “forgotten” foods influence their current food choices and attitudes?

Who am I?

My name is Jon, and I’ve spent almost my entire professional life around food. I first began working in restaurants at 15, and over the next 20 years held pretty much every conceivable job in food service; from dishwasher to executive chef. I fell in love with Asturias on my first visit, and now I live here full time.

I personally fell in love with Asturian food (and culture) because it reminded me of my home region, the southern Appalachian Mountains. Most Asturian food has a resonance with regional American cooking that you will recognize from the first recipe you try.

Think of me as your American guide who can shepherd you though unique, authentic Asturian food and cultural experiences and tours.

If you want to know more about me, you can read my story.

What Do I Do?

I Document. First, and foremost, I am interested in the unsung and endangered. I am constantly in a mad scramble to document things before they slip away into oblivion without record. I am interested in what is being cooked, has been cooked, and will be cooked, by all of the people who make up Asturias. Immigrant food is often the best way to see what is universal in a local food culture. For that reason alone, it should be more closely studied. I am not interested in official lists (or even worse, tourist office lists) of what is or is not the correct or authentic Asturian cuisine. To be honest, I find this kind of conservatism misguided, and very boring. I am just as interested in Asturian style pizza or kebab as I am in the ur-fabada.

I Provide Context. All meals and all dishes need context. And context is no longer merely place-historical. Internet-connected post-modern societies cross the boundaries of their inherited food traditions constantly. This trans-cultural food knowledge can create or accompany new behavioral patterns, new food preferences, and new eating patterns.

I Eat & Drink. I am, as Raymond Sokolov once called himself, a “gastro-ethnological reporter”. While I do not review restaurants, I do tell stories of them. I point out the places, and dishes, that I think are worth a visitor’s time. My desire is to reward good clean cooking.

I Cook. It is not enough to merely passively consume Asturias. I contribute to Asturian food culture through original recipes. While working within the milieu of contemporary Asturian food, I give things my own, immigrant, twist. Partially that is to adapt things to an American kitchen. Partially it is because I feel a need to imprint my own mark on the collective.

How Does the Site Work?

I say that this site is equal parts Travel Guide, Cookbook, and Ethnography. I try to blend the three components together as best I can. However, I recognize that some people only have an interest in one part of the site or another. So, I try to provide easy ways to find what you are interested in.

The Eating and Drinking menus contain all of my writing about the gastronomy and drinking culture of Asturias. This is the bulk of the ethnographic portion of the site. If you want to know more about food in Asturias and what to eat on your visit here, these sections are for you.

The Cooking menu contains my recipes, and my writing about those recipes. I provide both context and a trans-cultural perspective on each recipe I post. Like much regional American food, Asturian food is easy to cook, homey, and hearty. It’s basically perfect for home cooking, and the majority of Asturian restaurants pride themselves on being home-cooking types of places that serve exactly what people want to eat. If you want to learn about how people cook in Asturias and reproduce those dishes at home, this is where you should look.

The Recipes menu is just that – the recipes. They are organized like a cookbook, and are separate from their personal or social context. Not everyone looking for recipes on the internet wants a bunch of “fluff”in the way of their cooking instructions. If you are looking for straight to the point recipes for foods you might not have cooked before, dive in here and get cooking!

Additional Content

Scattered throughout the site are some posts that I have categorized as My Asturias. These are relatively few, and so need no real menu of their own. They serve to provide an honest appraisal of life as actually lived in Asturias for an immigrant from the United States. These articles will often contain generalizations about Asturians, Spaniards, Europeans, or Americans. All of these generalizations are tendentious, unfair, and prejudiced.

I also have some academic pretensions, and I indulge them here. There is a further menu, available behind the triple line / hamburger menu button. It houses additional tools and ways to interact with the site.

  • An annotated Bibliography of all of the sources I use in my research.
  • A Glossary of unfamiliar terms used on this site. – Many of the entries here are full-blown encyclopedia entries. Others are simple translations.
  • A list of suppliers of Asturian and Asturian-style food products in the United States

Come Visit Asturias with Me

Here on Eating Asturias I am going to share my Asturias with you. A place full of cider and beef, apples and seafood, sausages and craft beer. And if you fall in love with it like I have, you can come to Asturias and I will take you around to all my favorite places and stuff you full of good things to eat and drink.

I am available during most months of the year to help with vacation questions, planning, or personalized tours. Anything from answering a question or two all the way to a week-long culinary tour of Asturias with translation services and one-of-a-kind experiences. If you are interested in more information, please get in contact with me.

Read These First

Now that you know who I am and what I am trying to do, it’s time to get started on your journey into Asturian cuisine. I have compiled a few of my favorite informational posts in one place. You can’t go wrong starting with any of these: