The element that best expresses the relationship between gastronomy and the quarrying of Macael marble is, without a doubt, the basket that the women sent daily to the quarry with the food of their husbands and children.
The memories of childhood in Macael bring back the “smell of glory” of the houses first thing in the morning, and the illusion of waiting for the basket to come back, in which the father always left some leftovers for them to eat.
The making of the basket was a ritual. The women got up very early in the morning to make the food so that it would arrive “almost” hot, and they poured all their love and effort into its preparation.
An earthenware or porcelain pot contained the main dish, complemented with a piece of bread, sausages from the slaughter, broad beans at the time and a piece of fruit of the season. Some baskets also contained a small bottle of wine.
It was normal to save the best food to send in the baskets to the stonecutter, as he made a great physical effort throughout the day.
The variety of food that was sent to the quarries was limited by the seasonal products and the weather at each time of the year.
“Migas”, which were eaten at any time of the year, were made with breadcrumbs in bad weather. In winter, wheat, chickpea or fennel stews abounded. Some stews such as “arroz caldoso de puchero” (rice stew) or “arroz con habichuelas” (rice with beans). In summer, potato omelette, rabbit, pork or chicken “fritá”, potatoes “apañás”, with their wine and saffron, meat with garlic, either kid, lamb, rabbit or chicken.
Meals that were difficult to transport by donkey to the quarry were eaten at dinner in the evening, soups in winter and “gazpacho” in summer.
Then there were the celebrations in which the whole family got together, such as San Marcos, which, although people worked, was celebrated from lunchtime onwards and lasted all afternoon, known as “merienda”, or the celebration of Christmas, in which the most important pastries were almond sighs, butter cakes and crackling cakes.
Typical dishes were “tortilla de patatas” (potato omelette), “fritá”, “habas” (broad beans), “bota de vino” (wineskin) and, above all, “hornazo”. A bread roll made with aniseed-flavoured oil and an egg with its shell that was put into the dough to be baked together with it in the oven.