Basque Books for Research for The Cooking Class in San Sebastian

Books I bought for researching Basque history and culture, except  Guggenheim Bilbao Museum,  which   I borrowed through an interlibrary loan.

Books I bought for researching Basque history and culture, except Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, which I borrowed through an interlibrary loan.

The Basque people have a long, mysterious, exciting, and difficult past. I fell under their spell in the 1970s as a college student traveling and loving the food. In 1998 I arrived in Seattle at about the time The Harvest Vine Restaurant was opening its original petite space and was the only Basque outpost that I know of. You had to be patient out in the cold and rain to get a seat at the bar late night for mushrooms on toast and tinto. In San Francisco, where I visit friends and family as often as possbile, the chef, Gerald Hirigoyen, got serious about his Basque heritage publishing The Basque Kitchen in 1999 and opening Piperade in 2002. I was an early fan of both. My first Basque dinner party was memorable and one of my most popular posts in the 2002 era.  

The journalist and writer, Robert Laxalt launched me beyond cooking and eating. Once I'd read Sweet Promised Land, I had to read all of Laxalt's series of books documenting the American Basque in the West, especially Nevada where his Basque father immigrated to be a sheepherder and later met and married his Basque mother.   Visiting in the Basque Country again a few years ago inspired me to write my own book about these amazing people and the cuisine, The Cooking Class in San Sebastian.

Writers using history and culture in books are often called out for plagiarizing. I've read about authors excusing it as a copy and pasting error from research into manuscript that wasn't marked clearly for rewrite or some other lingo. I decided I would avoid any errors or conflicts by reading, but not taking any notes. My method would be whatever I read and retained would be inserted when I found a natural spot in my story for  it. I did a fair amount of fact checking before publication and was pleased that my memory muscle still has some flexibility to it. I apologize for errors more knowledgeable readers may find and take responsibility for my sources.  


Books I Borrowed from the Seattle Public Library.

Basque Dance by Ysursa, John M.

Basque Firsts: People Who Changed the World: People Who Changed the World by Juaristi, Vince J. 

Basque Moon (A Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery) by Weston, Julie W.

Basque Spanish Recipes from San Sebastian and Beyond by Pizarro, Jose

In a Hundred Graves: A Basque Portrait by Laxalt, Robert

Portraits Of Basques In The New World by Etulain, Richard W. (Editor)

Spain by Koehler, Jeff



Books I own not shown in the photo

Then I started buying books because they weren't available at the library or because I loved them, wanted to own them and read them again, such as books by Robert Laxalt. The modern library culling process puts many library books for sale at second hand book dealers to make room on library shelves for newer books. This is good news for book buyers but sad for the citizens and the books not to be available at the library. Like any other business, managing a library these days requires brutal cuts to maintain efficiency.

The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito by Raij, Alexandra, Montero, Eder; Marx, Rebecca Flint

The Basque Kitchen: Tempting Food from the Pyrenees by Hirigoyen, Gerald, and Hirigoyen, Cameron

The Basque Pintxo Cookbook by San Sebastian Food Team

The Basque Table by Barrenechea, Teresa, Goodbody, Mary

The Food of Spain by Roden, Claudia

Pintxos by Hirigoyen, Gerald