Cooking in the 19th-century | Cultural Heritage. Goverment of Catalonia.
Cooking in the 19th-century From opulence to ‘bread with tomato’

Opulent menus, inspired by the French cuisine and disdain for the traditional and home-made. In the 19th century the Catalan bourgeoisie and the great restaurants opted for a luxurious and sumptuous gastronomy, though it never became mainstream.

Instead, the popular and high-quality Catalan cuisine continued to live on in the fondes de sisos (the Inns of the Sixes - the cost in reales to stay the night), bringing homemade meals at affordable prices to everybody. These establishments popularised dishes such as sausage or pork loin with beans, pan-baked cod or baked macaroni gratin. The creativity and sense of humour stand out in the names of dishes such as la barretina - the Catalan hat - (vegetables with herring) or samarreta amb allioli - vest with aioli - (baked tripe). The Inns of Sixes also gave rise to customs such as the Thursday paella, a commercial event that sought to attract more customers on a particular day of the week that was usually slack.

The first references to the pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) are also from the 19th century. According to the gourmand Nèstor Luján, the Catalan dish par excellence appeared in the rural world in an age with an abundance of tomatoes, taking advantage of them to soften the dry bread.