MARTIN LUTHER KING WAS AT BOTÍN

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Michael Aaron Rockland is currently a professor of American Studies at RutgersUniversity. He has enjoyed a wide-ranging career in the United States diplomatic service, part of which time he spent in Spain. This period spent in our country was the inspiration for his autobiographical book “An American Diplomat in Franco Spain”.

At Botín we were recently visited by the North American diplomat, as apparently we are one of his favourite restaurants and we learnt that in one of the passages from his book there is a mention of Botín. In this passage, Rockland describes the food he enjoyed at our house during the visit he made to our country, together with one of the most significant personalities in the history of the United States, none other than Martin Luther King:

“I returned at two in the afternoon, the normal lunchtime for anyone accustomed to Spanish eating habits, but Martin was already up, dressed and as hungry as a blind man’s dog. The ambassador’s limousine and driver were waiting for us in the street and we headed with great pomp to restaurant Botín situated in calle Cuchilleros, just after the Plaza Mayor. I knew that this was the most frequented place by tourists ever since Hemingway chose it for the final scene of his novel The Sun Also Rises. In the cellar there was a free table for two. I suggested we choose the famous quarter-hour soup and roast lamb, and my guest fully concurred.

At the restaurant there were North Americans like us. At that time any black person was an exotic sight in Madrid, but one looking identical to Martin Luther King was totally disconcerting. The people from the other tables could not take their eyes away from us…”

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