How did I become a foodie? Well, I started learning to cook out of necessity. Living in Spain for two years at the age of 19, away from my family and my mom, meant I had to learn to cook (at least a little bit).
At least I was in Spain, and not Zimbabwe or something (no offense to Zimbabwe). Spain has awesome food! I grew up in rural Utah, so I wasn't really exposed to classic french cooking in my house (my mom was/is a great cook! I'm just saying it wasn't that type of cooking).
Spain, on the other hand, was a place where everyone still made very traditional foods from scratch, with fresh ingredients bought daily. I took quite an interest in the food there. I learned to like a lot of foods I didn't like yet, and I even learned to cook some of them. I didn't exactly leave there a master chef, but I left with an appreciation for good traditional food and a few basic skills. I could make a paella or a spanish tortilla, but I probably couldn't bone and truss a duck.
Did you see the Spain episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on the Travel Channel? I don't have the exact quote, but I think he said, "Spain is the new France." In fact, if you google "Spain is the new France" you will quickly find that a lot of people are saying that and have been for a while. So, it's official. When it comes to culinary avant-garde, Spain is where it's at. Of course I was there from 1994-1996, so maybe her culinary prowess was not yet fully developed, but either way, it was probably a little more developed than Blanding, Utah's.
So thank you Spain for sharing your Mediterranean cuisine with this country bumpkin. One of these days I'll bring my family back and introduce them to you.