I heard from an old friend, who lives in Andorra, yesterday. He always fills me in on all the gossip…. Which of course brings back lots of memories.
The biggest piece of news was that Frosty was only going to Pamplona for 5 days. (He's been driving her the last few years.) It's the end of an era. For close to 35 years Frosty has been a fixture in Pamplona, during the Fiesta of San Fermin, aka: the running of the bulls.
I wrote about her, and another old friend, 3 years ago on the opening day of the festival. I thought it worth a repeat in her honor:
The Running of the Bulls!
It brings to mind 2 old friends from Andorra; one recently deceased and the other, I'm certain, running with the bulls this morning.
I met them both at Ramon's, the little 'yellow with lavender trim' bar/cafe you see here, where, every Saturday since the beginning of time, the local expat community of St. Julia de Loria meets for drinks and lunch.
Ernst was a dapper Dutch gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He spoke 6 languages (although he didn't like to speak German, brought back bad memories of the 'occupation' during WWII), always wore a 'jacket' and usually a tie or ascot.
He was in his early 70's when me met in 1998 and used to walk with us on Monday mornings. No one wanted to be behind Ernst going up because he was an incredibly slow walker.
The Pyrenees are an old mountain range with steep valleys and sharp peaks. There are no green pastures with gentle streams and grazing cows like you see in the alps. The paths we followed (when we could find them) were usually shepherd or goatherd paths, quite steep and narrow. In other words, 'No Passing'.
Once behind Ernst you stayed behind Ernst, watching the people ahead race off into the distance. Going down he was faster and fun to walk with – he always had funny stories to tell and one was not so out of breath going down.
On one of our first walks, we (mon mari et moi) were almost at the summit (app. 2400 metres), just starting to negotiate the steepest, rockiest part and having a wee rest and water break on a rock.
Ernst plods on by, glances at us and says "You young people must learn to pace yourselves". He was at the top and halfway through his lunch by the time we got there. He died last month.
The first time we met Frosty, she was being escorted down the street by Ernst.
Frosty likes to 'imbibe' on occasion – specifically 3 times a year, Christmas, her birthday and the running of the bulls, although she has since given up the first two occasions.
She started smoking when she turned 60. Frosty is just under 5' tall, 90 lbs dripping wet, with snow-white hair, age undetermined (but over 60).
She runs with the bulls, has for 25 years (must be 30 now).
Ernst, or someone else, usually drives her from Andorra to Pamplona – she doesn't like driving on the motorway….too dangerous.
She then spends 10 days in Pamplona, drinking, partying, running with the bulls and generally having an outrageous time. She comes back to Andorra and goes to bed for days, recovering.
I haven't seen her in a few years and don't know if she still runs …. but I'd bet she's there and, if not running herself, certainly telling all of the young and foolish men how to do it properly.
Pamplona will not be the same this year…
On to other news of the summer…
Did I mention that I now live in the Tomato Capital of France?
This is my entry for Presto Pasta Nights, back home with the founder, Ruth of Once Up on a Feast, this week.
And to give you plenty of time to plan ahead…. I'm hosting next week. Yes, I know, I'm crazy, but I thought I saw a window of inactivity next Friday morning at 3:45am…. Might as well fill it!
Details to follow.
Tomato and Herb Orzo
When tomatoes are in full summer season I tend to use them with abandon. Grating them makes a lovely, fresh tasting sauce or addition to any food.
1/2 cup orzo
1 medium tomato, grated
1/2 – 3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tbs snipped fresh chives
1 tbs snipped fresh basil
Grating the tomato: Cut the tomato in half. Cup one half in your hand and rub it on the big holes of a box (or other style) grater until all that is left in your hand is the skin. You'll have to press a bit, but not too hard. Be careful not to grate your hand.
Orzo: Measure the tomato and add enough chicken stock to equal 1 cup plus 1 tbs. Put into a small saucepan, add orzo, cover and simmer over low heat until all liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Taste the orzo to see if it's done to your liking. If not add 1 – 2 tbs water, depending on how juicy the tomato was. Stir in herbs. Total cooking time is 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the orzo. Serve hot or warm.
I do love summer….
So, who out there has run with the bulls?
Know anyone who has run with the bulls?
Know why anyone would run with the bulls?