Inside the Tortilla: A Journey in Search of Authenticity by Paul Read

A wanderer in present day Spain searches for recipes that will reveal something about the history of the country.

Inside the tortilla: a journey in search of authenticity

Life has a habit of throwing obstacles in your path for a good reason: They arise to challenge the undaunted, or deter the uncommitted. Either way, when you stumble into a town that the guide books have overlooked, you must choose between quickly moving on, or staying to see what the obstacles conceal.

When one man and his faithful hound turn their backs on the Mediterranean Sea and set out on a journey into the interior of the Deep South, they go in search of a town that still cooks it's food rather than shops for it. Tired of the disposable nature of modern living and its embrace of microwaved food, this search for authentic recipes unveils not just a series of gastronomic secrets, but the rich history, culture, politics and diet of a charismatic country as it struggles out of the shadow of its past and into the searing light of its future.

Genre: TRAVEL / General

Secondary Genre: COOKING / General

Language: English


Word Count: Under 50.000

Sales info:

Published under 2 years ago, available on all platforms and in paperback. Today in Uk store: 37.000 - seems to fluctuate all the time, rising to over a 100.000, dropping to the 20.000. I'm hoping to see the book translated into Spanish as it takes place in Spain or any language that would find the themes of interest.

Don't have more data. Sales vary. Its not a best seller (yet) but have been growing incrementally as I do more promotional work via social media. I was interviewed a few times last year and that has helped but it is only selling about 20 copies a month on Amazon at present.  

Sample text:

The tortilla is a uniquely Iberian version of the omelette. It was not too long ago, that it was prepared by chopping and slowly frying potatoes with onions, asparagus, peppers or mushrooms, and then coating everything in an eggy-mixture before carefully slow-cooking both sides.

Nowadays, Spanish tortillas are readily available in all supermarkets pre-cooked. The tortilla has adapted to the 21st century and prolonged its presence on the dining table of life. But it has, in the process, lost something of its identity. The taste has become diluted, the varieties have become reduced to a simple "with or without onions" and the classic chunky shape regulated to a Frisbee-sized mould. In short, the tortilla has been reduced to an instant, microwaved tapa.

Sadly, on the Mediterranean coast, the practise of serving microwaved versions of food has been embraced so enthusiastically that the model has now been wholeheartedly extended to all aspects of daily life. Coastal living has become a product like any other on the shelves of a large supermarket.

After tolerating years of such culinary and cultural homogenisation, my taste buds demanded a return to flavour. I had heard there were still places that cooked a real tortilla. It was rumoured that certain bars away from the coast, still made their food rather than shopped for it. Perhaps it was just an urban legend, but I had to find out.


Tourism is an intriguing concept. Place it in a bowl alongside one small Mediterranean town, add a sprinkling of urban development, marinate some wild fantasies for golf courses and yachting marinas, then stand back and watch what happens.


Book translation status:

The book is available for translation into any language except those listed below:

Translation in progress. Translated by Margit Unser
Already translated. Translated by Licia Braga
Author review:
Licia worked quickly and thoroughly, consulting me along the way and even helping me re-think some of what I'd written in English. She has done a great job and I look forward to working with her on other projects in the future
Translation in progress. Translated by Liz Alves
Already translated. Translated by José Juan González Ortiz
Author review:
José Juan González Ortiz worked hard, and worked fast on this translation. He was keen to consult over linguistic differences between Latin American Spanish and European Spanish, and was eager to take on some of the cultural variations that would need to be reflected in the book. His enthusiasm, energy, commitment to the project and final quality work leaves me little choice but to recommend him as a translator.

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