Prior to walking my first Camino in 2011, a friend suggested that I write about my experiences walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. While I’ve always wanted to write a book, I wasn't too keen on that idea for a variety of reasons. For starters, I’m a very private person and the idea of putting my most inner thoughts and feelings out there for the world to read was not at all appealing… As a matter of fact, it was quite terrifying! In addition, there were already many personal accounts about the Camino and writing a book is a LOT of work… If I was going to go through the laborious process of writing a book, I wanted to make sure it had a unique and compelling angle.
When I expressed this reservation, my friend told me not to worry… she suggested that I keep a journal and that surely enough by the end of the Camino, my journal would reveal an angle. So I did just that… everyday, after arriving in town, taking a shower and doing my laundry, I would sit out in the sun and write about the happenings of the day.
When I got back to the United States, I read the whole journal one Saturday evening and noticed I did seem to have a “theme.” But unfortunately it wasn’t that unique or compelling. You see… I seemed to talk a lot about my aches and pains and I really couldn’t envision anyone being interested in that... Not even my own mother! So I tabled the idea of writing a book.
A few months later, I was walking on the beach on a Sunday morning and I thought to myself… If I were on the Camino, I would be having breakfast #2 right about now. For those of you that have been on the Camino, you understand exactly what I am referring to! For those who have not yet walked the Camino, on the Camino, our metabolisms speed up significantly and having multiple breakfasts on any given day is as ubiquitous as the menú de peregrino, the inexpensive three-course menu offered to pilgrims all along the way
The thought about breakfast #2 led me to think about all the foods I had enjoyed along the way and in that moment, I realized that my book about the Camino was actually going to be a book about the foods of the Camino. It just made perfect sense for a variety of reasons:
1. Experiencing food – learning about it… preparing it… eating it – is one of my greatest passions and when it brings friends and loved ones together, as it often does on the Camino, it is joy in its purest form!
2. I attended culinary school in France and know a thing or two about food…
3. I have taught cooking for many years and truly enjoy sharing my knowledge about food with others.
4. Pilgrim friends were already reaching out to me asking about various different recipes.
5. After doing some research, I realized there wasn’t a book out there like the one I envisioned.
Many people claim to have their best ideas when they least expect them.... in the shower, while grocery shopping, etc. The idea of Tastes of the Camino was no different. On that Sunday morning, I never thought I would get back home and call my friend to tell her I finally had an idea or that I would get on the computer to research this idea further. Speaking of research, I will share more details about all the research I did in the next post of The Making of Tastes of the Camino.