Rural Mothers Cook Up a Rescue for Town and Tradition

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The triumph of strong-willed Spanish mothers over tough economic times has resulted in a remarkable turn of events: Women in the Córdoban village of Villarrubia founded Despensa la Nuestra, "Our Pantry", to provide support for the working mothers of their region. They prepare traditional food drawn from a wealth of family recipes and their dishes have not only filled a local need, but have become a benchmark for authentic Andalusian cuisine. LaTienda.com is proud to introduce the artisan soups and sauces of Despensa la Nuestra to the United States.

Despensa la Nuestra products available from LaTienda.com

Latienda.com, a family-owned business and the premier online source of fine Spanish food in America, is proud to introduce artisan soups and sauces from Despensa la Nuestra – products which are not only delicious, but also represent the triumph of strong-willed rural mothers over tough economic times.

Despensa la Nuestra products are made from old family recipes, using fine local ingredients and no artificial preservatives – in the finest tradition of regional home cooking. What we view as gourmet, they have been serving their families for years. These classic homemade dishes have now grown into a source of income for the whole town.

A few years ago the Andalusian village of Villarrubia in rural Córdoba faced an economic challenge when the local sugar beet processing factory closed down permanently. One thousand men were laid off and the main source of income for the town was gone.

Not only were the jobs gone, but the traditional rhythms of family life were disrupted. Fathers had to leave town in search of work and mothers had to begin working outside the home to support their household. There was no time for these working women to shop at the market or proudly serve home cooked meals to their families.

That is, until Lola León gathered a group of women in her town to save the way of life they loved. These determined women of Andalucía rolled up their sleeves and went to work preparing the traditional food of the region for their families and their neighbors who had to work outside the home.

First they gathered family recipes, some of which were three generations old. Next they studied the health regulations and set up a small commercial kitchen which they named Despensa la Nuestra, “Our Pantry.” Finally, they got to work cooking their treasured family dishes for those mothers working outside the home.

Now the word is out: they are producing some of the finest artisan food in all of Spain. Their all-natural product offerings include salmorejo, the classic cold soup of Córdoba; traditional sofrito sauce; tomate frito, a sauce essential to basic daily cooking; classic Andalucian gazpacho; and ajo blanco, a cold almond soup originating in Granada. Products are priced between $6.50 and $14.50 and are available at LaTienda.com.

The women of Despensa la Nuestra rise in the early morning hours when the rest of the village is still asleep, so that they can work all morning in their commercial kitchen and finish up in time to greet their children for the mid-day meal. Fellow workers without family obligations finish cleaning up the kitchen.

In this way, the women of Despensa la Nuestra remain true to the tradition they so highly value, while helping others to preserve their family meals, too. With these handmade products mothers who work outside the home can still preside over their table and provide traditional, healthy and delicious fare to their families.

At La Tienda, it delights us to support small companies like Despensa la Nuestra which cook from the wisdom of generations while preserving local custom and ways of life.

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Don Harris

Jonathan Harris
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