The sociedad in the Basque part of the country is a members only (and men only) establishment where you pay monthly dues to have access to the “society”. Once you are a member you are allowed to use the facilities as long as you sign up ahead of time and there is still room. Yesterday we went to one of these establishments, as one of Miguel´s friends is a member of a Sociedad in San Sebastian. The way it works is as follows. They have a very well prepared kitchen with everything you could possibly need to cook. All you need to do is supply the food. They are well stocked with alcohol, mixers, wine, beer etc… and you can drink as much of it as you want. But the rules are a bit different that anything in the US – the women are not allowed in the kitchen! They are not allowed to even get something from the kitchen!
Miguel keeping the girls out of the kitchen!
Miguel´s friends had arranged all of the food by the time we had arrived, so we got to helping with the cooking! After chopping a bunch of things up, and stuffing the chickens as well as making the appetizers, we could relax a bit a socialize! The great thing about this particular Sociedad is that the Kitchen has no walls, so you can at least talk to the women, as well as them being to interact with the men cooking!
We had some after dinner drinks accompanied with hours of chatting about anything and everything! It was a great way to get warmed up for the long night of drinking that lay ahead of us! By the time we left the sociedad it was past 1am! The member has to count up all the bottles and cans at the end of the night and leave the list in an envelope with the money as he leaves. The dishes are placed near the sink, but do not have to be washed. One of the perks of being a member is that you don´t have to clean up at the end of the night!
Its actually a really great way to spend the evening! You get to cook in a professionally stocked kitchen with all your friends. The women don´t have to lift a finger and are catered to the entire night! The drinks are plentiful and cheap! We gotta figure a way to get this to the US!
Granted, I think that the fact that women are not allowed into the kitchen would probably grate on some nerves. Apparently this was a men-only thing up until around 20 years ago when they would let women attend but not cook. I have been told that there are some Sociedades that even allow the women to help out!
Regardless, it was a fantastic time! We ended up having a few drinks in San Sebastian and then ended up back in Fuenterrabia to “El Truck” to party the night away! Teresa and I ended up getting to sleep at around 7am. Suffice it to say, it hasn´t been a very productive day!