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The Feast of the Three Fisherman of Calafell, a Playlist

  • Valencian Fishermen, Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida - The Feast of the Three Fisherman of Calafell, a Playlist - The Gourmand
    Valencian Fishermen, Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida
  • The Fish, Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida  - The Feast of the Three Fisherman of Calafell, a Playlist - The Gourmand
    The Fish, Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida

The Feast of the Three Fisherman of Calafell, a Playlist

  • “First of all take a plane to Barcelona, then drive to Calafell, then find your fishermen…”, so begins the last recipe in Irving Davis’s A Catalan Cookery Book, A Collection of Impossible Recipes, “a meal to end all meals."
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  • There are three courses. 
  • First, the potatoes and the fish with the Allioli sauce—the Fishermen’s Romesco.
  • Second, a rice dish—Arrossejat, cooked with the liquid from the potatoes and the fish.
  • Third, the octopi—Pops in Catalan. The meal is to be washed down with local white wine and songs of Catalonia sung by the fishermen. 
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  • The setting is a coastal town in Tarragona, Spain in the 1960s, where Irving Davis, like many of his fellow British bohemians, fell in love with the Mediterranean and the Sofregit and the Picada. Davis was an antiquarian bookseller and a cook extraordinaire. He had a fondness for erotic art and literature as well as roast game and Vouvray wines, which he served in fine Venetian glassware. 
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  • He was also a friend and mentor to Patience Gray, the influential food writer who narrated a gastronomic odyssey in her lyrical cookbook Honey From A Weed, Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades and Apulia. She devoted an entire chapter, Homage to A Classic Cook, to Davis. That is where she describes the emergence of the fishermen of Calafell in the kitchen on a late afternoon with their baskets full of fish and octopi and a marble mortar for the Allioli; and then later, of the dishes “in a haze of garlic and merriment.”
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  • It was Gray who collected Davis’ recipes, originally handwritten in a small black notebook, and published them in 1969 after his death. In her introduction to A Catalan Cookery Book, the hallucinatory effects of the Mediterranean heat, dust and light becomes a motive to not just eat, but to feast. 
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  • Click here for a playlist to mark the end of summer and an ode to the feasts of “fishes grilled on little fires laid on the rocks at nightfall, lit up by moonlight, by summer lightning and the phosphorescent shine on the dark sea.”
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  • Restaurant, The Cinematic Orchestra
  • L'Emporda, Cavall Bernat
  • D'Fish, Chlorine Free
  • Warm My Soul, Blundetto
  • Tout Doux, Ezechial Pailhes
  • You're a Song (That I Can't Sing), Franki Valli & The Four Seasons
  • Fisherman, The Congos
  • Top of the Pops, The Kinks
  • To Binge, Gorillaz
  • Aht Uh Mi Hed, Shuggie Otis
  • The Moon, Bibi Tanga
  • Under a Cancer Sky, Dan Bodan 
  • La Mer, Charles Trenet