The Cook of Castamar

My husband never proposed.

Not even during the five months preceding the wedding, after six years of dating. I never had the fortune (or misfortune) to hear the three magic words, or experience the grand gestures traditionally associated with a wedding proposal. He simply asked me once what the Church would require for a mixed wedding, immediately followed by, “asking for a friend”, and I knew from there. I believe that relationships are most private, to be experienced solely by those involved. While I do not criticize the others’ ostentatious rituals, for everyone sees happiness differently, but experience tells me that not everyone will think alike or solicitously share in your happiness, and such instances only provide further fodder for gossip.

And then, there are those relationships that are beyond love – the unobtrusive, discreet, loyal and reliable ones that exist beyond distance, definition or divides. These do not need words of affirmation, sex or communication to exist. Not every relationship needs closure either. Few are privileged to know the causes why a friendship or acquaintance went redundant, or which did not meet each others’ expectations. Despite what social media purports, at times confronting a feeling may only alter the relationship than what remained special when it stayed safely concealed.

“Savour has two meanings. To taste or to enjoy. For each ingredient takes on a unique purpose, the same for each person. Time stands still to let you savour the dish.”

-The Cook of Castamar.

The Cook of Castamar or La Cocinera de Castamar (Spanish) explores such relationships – the open ended, the taboo, the impossible. Adapted from the novel by Fernando Munez, it is the most unsuspecting of series, lately to be broadcast on Netflix, both in English audio and subtitles. This comes as a welcoming refresher for those who miss the classics, though sadly the dubbing does not do much justice to baroque vocabulary, unless ofcourse, heard in original Spanish language.

Set in the year 1720 Madrid, a young agoraphobic cook is hired in the kitchen of the widowed Duke of Castamar, and redefines empathy, forgiveness, trust and most of all – our underestimated sense of taste. Watch it if you like food, particularly Spanish food, and of course, and let it carry you to the valiant era of royals, nobles, palaces and duels.

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