By Matthew Yglesias
It seems to me that a food blog written by DC-based political writers really shouldn’t go without mention of the PBS show Made in Spain with DC’s own (or, rather, Spain’s own but he lives in DC now) José Andres. The show doesn’t really make a ton of sense. For one thing, being able to pronounce English words in a comprehensible manner is usually a prerequisite for hosting a show, and Andres can’t to it. For another thing, Spanish though Andres may be, it would be strange to visit his restaurants and come away with the conclusion that he’s some kind of specialist in traditional Spanish regional cooking. And yet that’s (sort of) the subject of the show, which cuts back-and-forth between Andres visiting various food establishments (a restaurant, a cheese factory, a vineyard) in any given episode’s Spanish region and then shots of his kitchen back home where he cooks something. Cleverly, they make his wardrobe in the two segments the same, such that when edited together it looks like he’s teleporting back-and-forth from DC to Murcia.
Long story short, the results are nothing short of fantastic. Andres’ mangled English and immense enthusiasm manage to really elevate the narration to something far above and beyond anything available on the Food Network, and the relatively low budget production values let the food and the personality of the host shine through. And that, in the end, turns out to be what the show is about — not so much Spain as Andres; having fun, showing off, mispronouncing things, etc. It’s a delight.