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Maria Begoña Iturri

Begoña was born in Mundaka Vizcaya in the Basque region (northeast, on the Atlantic Bay of Biscay) of Spain in 1924.  She and her nine brothers and sisters were raised on a farm where they grew beans, corn, potatoes and raised cows.   From the age of nine, all the children were expected to work on the farm, and Begoña was no exception.  She milked the cows, picked the beans, and helped her mother in the kitchen.  When she was fifteen, she began to cook and serve for some of the more affluent families in the city of Bilbao.

When Franco took power in Spain the farm suffered.  Franco would take whatever they grew and gave nothing in return.  First the family tried hiding their crop in ditches, but eventually they gave up.  When Begoña was twenty-three she married, and she and her husband moved to America to escape the Franco regime.  Begoña had seven children, and still makes lunch for one or more of her children (not exactly children anymore) each day.

Begoña  fondly remembers her grandfather playing the accordian, her father the tamborine, and her mother doing irrinzis – a kind of yodel.  Cooking, dancing, and doing an occasional irrinzis (yodel) – that’s what makes Begoña happiest today.

On Egin! (Cheers!)

Lunch / Dinner

Tortilla Vasco

potatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil and eggs cooked together and served in a wedge (like a thick frittata); served with a marinated tomato, onion & pepper salad

Dinner

Pollo Jardinera

chicken braised in gravy with peas, parsley & carrots, served with sautéed new potatoes

Red Snapper

egg-battered & pan-fried, with pipérade (a combination of peppers, roasted then cooked with olive oil & garlic) & sautéed new potatoes

Dessert

Cinnamon-Scented Flan

an egg custard infused with cinnamon