This unexpected way, like all the good things in life, is how we have known the story of Fabiola Dotras Alonso, a follower of our Facebook page that tells us first hand her experiences in the canning world, a family tradition that has led her to become not only passionate about these products, but part of this great family.
Without further ado, we leave you with Fabiola…
I was born glued to the cannery of one of my grandparents, the other was also a cannery and I went to see him at his factory, but it was a little farther from home. I began to try preserves from a very young age and I saw how the manufacturing processes evolved, in fact, I remember what I liked to see the walk from the cans to the first autoclave to close them and, before, to see how women with great care, placed, one by one, the sardines in each can.
I was also impressed by the immense freezer where I went one day to see it and it closed and nobody found me until the manager, who knew me well and knew about my audacity, came up with the idea of going in and found me almost frozen and smelling of fish, what a fear…
I went down to my grandfather’s office every time he called me on his phone, connected to my house and told me “anchoita” (an loving way to call him little anchovy) come and try a new preparation (I remember the sardines with tomato that seemed a novelty) and both of us were available for the test as if it was a ceremony and I had to give him my opinion, although it was so small that I do not remember if he could or could not have an opinion.
But, before all that, I also remember the barrels for making salted meats and pickles that had a very strong smell and I would separate myself when they opened the tapas.
I also remember the visits of the Andalusian representatives who came to offer the wonderful olive oils with which the products were bathed, because there were no others.
Life was very slow and orders could take months to arrive, so it was calculated on the basis of what was going to be canned over a long period of time. Nothing to do with these times of immediacy, everything was slower.
To see the trucks as they unloaded the sardines in the big tables-box, I loved it, there they were selected to pass to the process of cleaning, preparation and canning and I was admired seeing like between them they appeared great hake, popcorn and other fish.
After a few years, I also liked to stop by the offices and see how they made copies by hand, in a book, of the letters that were sent, of all!!! until the carbon paper arrived and began to file. I liked to place the paper with the charcoal paper and another for the copy on the Underwood typewriter and writing on it was like doing magic.
I used to sit with the employees in some banks and watch them collect in brown envelopes that some of them will remember since it was still a long time before the payrolls were sent home.
The process and queuing was slow and I liked to be there, talking and laughing with everyone, calm and not despairing until their turn came.
Life has become especially fast and technological and that’s fine, but, for those of us who began to live all this in the 1950s, there are unforgettable memories…
To put an end to this journey, I have to say that my palate, without me noticing, was becoming very “select” so I detect very quickly the quality of any canned product. A good, ventresca, some incredible anchovies, some mussels with an exceptional marinade, some good sardines… continue being, for me, a delicacy of gods.
I could tell thousands of anecdotes, but I hope that, with these memories, you get an idea of the past life that had the preserves and that I had.
Greetings to all.
If you have any kind of link, whatever it may be, with the sea and/or the canning sector, let’s write to one of our social networks and we’ll be delighted to listen to you and share your story with the world, because as we’ve said on other occasions, the good things in life, you have to share them!
Cover photo: Patrick Tomasso