Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Kitchen Range

The photo prompt for this week’s Sepia Saturday is a very grand Royal kitchen. The kitchen in ‘El Patio’ Agricultural Museum, here in Lanzarote, is about as far removed from that as it is possible to get. The kitchen range of my post title reflects the wide difference between rich and poor and the social differences of two countries. 


This was our second visit, and we were taking friends who were staying with us last week. It was a bright sunny day and it was easy to imagine the museum when agriculture was at its height, before tourism became the biggest employer on the island. 

In 1845 some farmers in the village of Tiagua asked permission to cultivate an area of virgin land belonging to the Marqués de la Quinta Roja. Over the next hundred or so years the small, sparsely cultivated farm developed into a major agricultural concern. By 1949 it was the best developed farm on the island. Twenty farm labourers were employed along with fifteen working camels. By the late twentieth century various social and economic reasons caused a 90% reduction in agricultural production and the farm entered a new phase in its existence, opening as a museum in 1994. Much of the fertile surrounding land is still farmed, livestock are maintained and red wine, Malvasia and Moscatel are still produced along with goats’ cheese, cereal, tomatoes and fruit. 
Now, for a few euros, you can spend an interesting day discovering what life was like here in the last century. Attendants wear traditional costume and will demonstrate farming, milling and brewing techniques to larger parties.It was very quiet, with only a handful of visitors, adding to the sense of peace we had as we pottered happily around peering at exhibits and watching the animals. 



Several rooms in the farmhouse are re-created as they were in the 1900s. Accommodation was very basic and the farmhand in the first picture is relaxing in the cool of the kitchen for a while before going back to his hard labours on the land.
                The kitchen dresser with simple but colourful pottery and enamelware dishes.


The bedroom was equally stark, with rush mats, a few religious pictures and very little furniture.

And if you needed the bathroom? You crossed the little courtyard to sit in stately splendour and admire the cobwebs here. You won’t find this in the Royal Scrapbook from Alan’s prompt. I understand Queen Victoria had proper flushing water closets.


Moving from the labourer’s quarters into the bodega, the kitchen dresser takes on a much more appealing look with preserved fruits and vegetables and a few bottles of local wine. I can attest to the fact that a glass or two of that would have made any worker coming in from the fields, forget his worries for a while.


And next door the farm shop, where no doubt a certain amount of local gossip was exchanged as well as purchases made of farm produce; fruits, tomatoes and wine. 
These vines near the farmhouse are growing nicely in the Lanzarote sunshine, protected from the warm winds by sturdy walls. 

This view from a window in the museum also shows the vines growing in zocos, individual walls to protect them from the sometimes harsh winds, The field in the foreground is covered in picon, tiny volcanic granules, which soak up moisture and help to water crops. In the distance can be seen the lovely island of Graciosa, where we were a few days later; more of that in a later post. On the right are the Famara cliffs. If you are interested in finding out more about the wines of Lanzarote read 'Bards and Vineyards’ where, among other things, you will find out about our famed Malvasia wine - or as Shakespeare called it ‘Malmsey’ or ‘Sack’. 


But I faith, you have drunk too much canaries and that’s a marvellous searching wine — Henry IV



And here’s the very place to sample the finished product. When we reached the patio area next to the bodega, we were given a little toasted snack and a small glass of local wine to wash it down. As we sat in the sunshine enjoying our refreshments a duckling decided to investigate the path next to the gate causing the attendants to pause in their duties for a few moments and allowing me a photo opportunity.


Fortified by our break we went on to explore more outbuildings, including the mill and winepress and a tiny chapel, before venturing into the cactus gardens and admiring more views across sweeping agricultural landscape and the coast beyond.



There were lots of balconies like this one, with deep orange bougainvillea spilling over the sides.



Best of all of course were the many sepia photographs to admire, some like this one more formally posed, and probably representing folk costume or some civic event, others showing the manual labourers who scratched a living from the land or artisans such as basket-makers or potters who were just as poorly paid.

The contrast between the lives of these poor Canarians and that of the Queen whose kitchen featured into the Sepia Saturday photo prompt, couldn’t be greater. Even the Queen’s cook would have enjoyed a much more privileged life. Somebody made this great little video for YouTube - if you have just seven minutes to  have a lightning tour through El Patio. 


Now go and see what other contributors have cooked up in the kitchens of Sepia Saturday. There’s bound to be something to suit all palates.



Also linking to Weekend Cooking, where other culinary delights can be found. If you have anything vaguely food related Beth invites you to link your post.



40 comments:

  1. I just finished viewing all of the postcards of that doll house on postcardy's blog. What a stark contrast between those rooms and the one's you've shared with us.
    Nancy

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  2. Hello Marilyn:
    We find these reconstructed villages most intriguing fro a number of different viewpoints. The architecture is appealing, seeing how people lived at different times is interesting and the whole experience really does give one a real sense of time and place.

    There is a similar 'museum' at Szentendre just outside Budapest where houses have been reconstructed on an agricultural museum theme. It is all most charming.

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  3. Nell, I'm sorry that I didn't make it back to comment yesterday. This is a fantastic post and I feel like I have been there now. The toilet impresses me, I wonder why our outhouses in America were just slats of wood instead of comfy looking little rooms.

    What a beautiful place!

    Kathy M.

    PS-Thanks again for the inspiration.

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  4. Touring this museum sounds like the perfect day to me. I so enjoy costumed interpreters and people demonstrating basic trades. Wonderful photos -- thanks for the tour!

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  5. There is another museum on the island I have still to visit! A return trip is needed. Full of information, full of well chosen words and excellent images. A feast of a Sepia Saturday post that any kitchen would be proud of.

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  6. I have to say that the only room that looks ever to have been lived in is the bathroom. An interesting tour, though, thank you Marilyn. I miss the bougainvilleas - they don't grow very prousely here.

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    1. The farm manager lived there until 1949 Brett. Some parts of the museum are better ‘renovated’ and cared for than others. Amazingly the museum doesn’t get any help from the local council for its maintenance. If they were prepeared to invest a little more, and perhaps publicise it further, more renovation could be carried out. and it would attract more visitors. It seems to be a well-kept secret. We’ve been coming to Lanzarote since 2004 and lived here since 2009, and we’ve only just discovered it.

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  7. I have been back to read this post several times before commenting. You have given us a splendid tour showing how people lived through the years and how times have changed. I have to say our outside toilet may have had stone walls but it wasn't christened "The Black Hole of Calcutta" for nothing.

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  8. A lovely post! I still haven't visited El Patio - but it's on the list. Elle xx

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  9. I don't know about that inside privy. If it's the same as an outhouse but inside - the flies, the smell. I hope there was an added something that made it sweeter.

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    1. The ‘added something’ was fresh air. All the rooms were off an open courtyard, Spanish style. I couldn’t see evidence of a door, though there may have been a curtain.

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  10. I love museums of this type. They give a much better idea of life in those times.

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  11. After seeing the photos it's almost like I've visited the museum myself. The mentioning of working camels is interesting.

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  12. Such an interesting way to learn about history. Books are great--but I love these sorts of exhibits for really getting a sense of space and time.

    Joy's Book Blog

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  13. It's not so much a reconstruction, Jane and Lance, but a complete farm given to the public when the owners left. There are a few rooms furnished as they would have been, and many others used for collections of artefacts. Aside from that, the whole farm shows how they survived in a hostile environment (it's 32 degrees C today, and we've only had 1/4 inch of rain since December), including the use of all available space - farmyard, roofs, and a dedicated concreted catchment area to collect the tiny rainfall. This farm of 20 some people, plus animals and crops, used less water than we do as a couple!

    I'd love for many more people to visit, so that the fortitude of the previous generations can be appreciated more widely; to provide more money for much needed repairs, and to allow even more of the buildings to be opened to the public.

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  14. How many times have I passed this wonderful secret (no longer)
    Thanks Marilyn, beautifully presented. It's definitely on my to do list! I will recommend it to so many people now, & that's before I visit it myself!

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  15. Oh my what a series of delightfully interesting items all linking back to well cooking! Such marvelous places, only one thing could be better to actually visit those places for real! The story was so interesting moving along I didn't get to linger long enough at each great photo, so I have to go back and just study them again....nicely done!

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  16. What a fantastic tour. I love seeing the rooms and pottery and scenery. I can just imagine what it must have been like to live there. I'm adding this to my places to visit some day.

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  17. Thank-youu for the tour and all the great photos.

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  18. What a great post!! I love to go to places like this, and I feel as if I were tagging along with you. Good photos too :)

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  19. Wonderfully descriptive post, Little Nell. I have to say, the lavatory reminds me of the one my grandparents had, until around 1970. Until then, our water was pumped from the well and the toilet was emptied in a trench across the vegetable garden. Just getting ready to watch 'The Bridge', on BBC Four, but will pop back to view the video, tomorrow morning.

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  20. I love the English replicas of old home and gardens. We have old pioneer villages in our town since Kentucky was once the frontier. Strange to think of it in that way but that is the history that is built in around here. Old mills and cobblestones and such. Your posts are always so interesting and full of info.
    QMM

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    1. Thanks Peggy, but there's not a shred of Englishness in these replicas, this is Lazarote, in the Canary Islands, with a long and mixed history of occupation by Spaniards, Berber pirates and so on and 70 k off the African coast. And it feels like it tonight with temperatures reaching 38 inland, we're in the grip of a 'calima', a hot dry wind off the Sahara, laden with dust and very humid!

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  21. Marilyn - I am intrigued by those curved/scalloped stone walls which appear in the video. They are running in the wrong direction to be terraces, i.e. down the slopes, and they look a bit like crinkle-crankle walls. Do you have any idea what they are for, and why they're constructed like that? I suppose curved walls would be more stable than straight ones, but it would make for a tricky crop planning regime.

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  22. Do you mean the Zocos? These are built to protect the vines/ fig trees. They are almostt iconic; every coffee-table book that has been published about the island has these as a prominent feature. Alan himself did a post after his visit here. What is a crinkle- crankle?

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  23. I guess I do mean the Zocos, although I had no idea that's what they were called - but why are they curved? For crinkle-crankle walls, look here and here.

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    1. Zocos are pits protected by a circular wall, ideally it would completely surround the vine or fig tree but the farmer has to get at the crop so there's an opening. The wind usually blows from the N.E. so the opening is on the S.W. away from the prevailing winds.

      Here's Alan's post: http://newsfromnowhere1948.blogspot.com.es/2012/03/what-comes-around-goes-around.html

      I like the crinkle-crankles. I must find a way of casually dropping them into a conversation.

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    2. Thank you - much as I thought, and very intriguing.

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  24. Enjoyed your interesting photos - I feel like I've taken the tour. :) I can see myself sitting on the patio with a glass of wine. The bougainvillea is so lovely! Great post.

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  25. I love these types of museums. I remember coming upon one in Kentucky that was just an old farm with tobacco drying sheds. Virtually no other visitors at the time so it felt even more real.

    Fascinating post.

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  26. Well, I love to cook and bake when I have the chance (and can fight my way into our very cluttered kitchen!) but I'm not sure my creations would turn out quite so brilliantly with such basic equipment. It's a long way off from working with the latest gadget - I don't spot any 'scaler de feesh' from Playa Blanca market in this little kitchen. But I actually like the simplicity of it and especially the brightly decorated plates and pots, which really stand out in the rustic background. Looking forward to visiting!

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  27. Life must Have Been tough on the old farms.The people in the sepia photo look exhausted .

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    1. We nicknamed the lady in the bedroom ‘Mrs Bates’ :)

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  28. Great post, I enjoyed the tour! Such pretty dishes. Lovely balcony. Can see though life of the farmer was very rustic.

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  29. What a wonderful tour! I love visiting old houses. Thanks for sharing.

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  30. A super travelogue and perfect spin to this weekend's theme. I love folk/farm museums like this that display ordinary life from earlier times. History becomes more immediate and alive. Thanks for the tour.

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  31. The people in the sepia photo look very unhappy; what a hard life they had. I read the history of the canary Island before the Spanish arrived. The Guanche people had it good, after the Spanish conquered them, it all changed, they used the inhabitants of the islands as laborers and took their land.

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  32. That is interesting! 10+ years ago I worked at a similar type of place. We had cabins from 1800 and 1850 and our interpreters also dressed in period clothing. It was a great place to work.
    www.burrittonthemountain.com

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  33. Thanks for the tour! I had never heard of Lanzarote - had to look it up - had my own little lesson there. What wonderful pictures, loved all the old antiquities of the area on display. I almost felt like I was there; the only thing better was if I actually was!

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  34. Now I know what malmsey refers to. Thanks!!
    Great location and that rooster busted my eardrum...
    I was intrigued by those walls at the winery.
    Certainly enjoyed the tour!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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