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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


"Lunch atop a skyscraper" 1932 - Color Version
Rockfeller Center 
this edition from FonwanChan
Photo by: Anonymous 

noonday meal, except in rural communities in Spain where it is midmorning lunch or a snack eaten between 10-11 a.m. by labourers. Lunch could consist of a piece of bread with lard for the poor. Workers, including women, prepared meals on the hearth at home and took them to the fields to warm up there or they prepared food on the location.  

In the Maragato Region in Leon, Spain, famous for its muleteers from time immemorial, carried lunch boxes wit h a shelf for coals underneath to keep their cocido warm. This consists of chickpeas, pork products, ossobuco, a piece of chicken, cabbage, carrots and today potatoes. At souks in Southern Spain, as in the streets of London, local vendors sold turnovers and pies to passers by. 

While in Jaen, Miguel Lucas Iranzo gave sumptuous banquets like the Earl of Warwick in England at the same time. Iranzo brought fresh fish from Seville and sacrificed numerous goats and sheep. Game was included on noble tables with many kinds of fowl especially in Cuellar (Segovia) where Beltran de la Cueva, the Duke of Alberquerque, maintained his palace. 

Cueva, Iranzo and Warwick were splendid. Being a gracious host was part of being a noble. Iranzo laid a spread outside his palace for commoners and the poor. Warwick gave his guests as much meat that could fit on their swords to take home. 

Nomadic shepherds in Spain normally cooked a lame lamb or mutton next to still waters for sheep only drink from stagnant water thus giving them time to prepare their traditional dish. [Fernández Muníz. 1994:186 and Pers. Memories. Slaughters Mostoles. 2000:2001:2003; and Misc. Reading]

Serves 2

Mujabbana Furniyya 
Cheese Pie from Moorish Spain
Photo by: zesterdaily.com

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
About ½ cup water
2 tbsp melted butter
1 cup grated cheese
10-12 anise seeds


  1. In a small bowl, mix the flour with the salt and work in enough water that the dough picks up all the flour. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead firmly until smooth and elastic, about eight minutes. If the paste is too slack to knead well, sprinkle with a little flour. If it's too dry (comes apart ruggedly when you stretch it), moisten one hand with water and work it in.
  2. When the dough is kneaded, divide it into two equal pieces. Roll one piece into a tortilla shape (a disk about 9 inches in diameter) and smear the surface with melted butter. Don't skimp with the butter; you should be able to slide your hand smoothly across the surface.
  3. Roll up the disk into a cylinder, but be sure it is not too tight. If any butter leaks out, wipe it up. Then twist the cylinder into a spiral mat shape about 3½ inches across. Place on a lightly floured work surface and cover with plastic wrap or an overturned soup bowl. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  5. Flatten each mat of dough with the palm of your hand, and roll it out about 9 inches in diameter. Put ½ cup grated cheese in the center of each. Leave the cheese mounded up; it will spread as it bakes.
  6. To form the pies, fold the edges of the dough over the filling from four sides, making a square, but leave an open space about the size of a quarter in the center. At each of the four seams you have formed, fold one side of the seam over the other to seal and then crimp the seam together. You will end up a rough square about 4 inches on a side. Sprinkle five or six anise seeds onto the cheese in the "window."
  7. Place the mujabbanas on a baking dish or cookie sheet, and bake until the pastry is turning golden brown and the cheese filling is bubbling, 30-35 minutes.
Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be reheated. 

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