Eduardo “Eddy” Rapoport was an internationally renowned Argentine biologist whom I was fortunate to meet in the city of Bariloche, in Argentine Patagonia, my home before Malaga. Today I want to share some memories and reflections about his work, which challenges me as a cook to this day: the dissemination and enhancement of edible wild plants. In some countries, they are called “weeds” or “weeds” or “weeds.” However, I prefer to stick with Eddy's definition: “goodness”, as these plants have high nutritional value and grow wild all over the world. As a cook, I feel the need to reconnect with nature and be grateful for every discovery, regardless of whether I am in the mountains or on the seashore, like today in Malaga.
The chef's mission: always connect with nature
I always remember his teachings, the opportunity he gave me and other Bariloche chefs to learn to recognize how many valuable foods are available in a square meter of fertile land. One spring afternoon, we went out with Eddy to Cerro Otto, a mountain that is just two kilometers from the urban center of Bariloche. We reached a transition area between the forest and some grasslands and with four branches chosen at random, we marked a square meter and identified five species of edible wild plants. To my surprise, I saw what he stated in his research become tangible: there are many more foods available that we do not know about and, therefore, do not take advantage of. When I tour the natural environment of Malaga, I feel the same curiosity to find and recognize the goodness and edible flowers. At first glance and from my years of collecting in Patagonia, I noticed that they are found in abundance here and at all times of the year. After four years living in the province of Andalusia, I am beginning to understand the temporality of some species. I have not yet been able to make a precise classification to know if they are native or exotic plants. I know it will take time since there is a lot of variety, still, the challenge stimulates me.
Brushstrokes of the wild environment in the flavors of Blossom
In the wild, amazing things happen. I find, near the mountains or near streams, tomato, pumpkin cucumber, leek, onion and potato plants for Blossom's kitchen. These findings surprise me and I think that agriculture was a very strong point at some point in the history of Malaga. In the restaurant's different dishes, I use at least thirty edible plants and wild flowers that I collect by hand. Just to mention a few: Wild pea, Fig leaves, Seven veins, Achilea, Sea fennel, Borage, Elderberry and different varieties of Oxalis; Mostacillas and Violas, among others. While I am doing this review, I realize the importance of knowing our environment and I remember a phrase that Eddy once quoted, from the book “The structures of the culinary” by the British anthropologist Mary Douglas: “When we have understood that the idea that we "What we make of what is edible is essentially rooted in culture, not in nature, then we can start to think about eventual food revolutions in the future."