Gazpacho is a type of chilled, tomato-based soup that has its roots in Southern Spain. Typically served as a treat in the hot summer months, gazpacho frequently contains assorted spices and vegetables, including, but not limited to, cucumbers, garlic, bell peppers, and onions. Because the soup is traditionally mixed in a mortar bowl with bread in order to thicken it, the dish is affectionally referred to by many fans as "liquid salad" or "soup salad." Best of all, because gazpacho is made almost entirely from vegetables, it is extremely low in calories while also being very high in nutrients.
Gazpacho preparation is a source of great pride for many Spanish families, the majority of whom have their own unique recipes, which are lovingly handed down from one generation to the next. As with kimchi in Korea, most natives of Spain consider gazpacho an important part of their culture and their diet, but they don't necessarily agree on the best, or correct, way to make it. While some families like to keep the dish strictly vegetarian, others enjoy adding chopped ham, beef, chicken, or pork into the mix. Sugar is occasionally added, though this largely undoes the health benefits mentioned in the first paragraph of this article.
The primary characteristic of quality gazpacho is that it is always made with the freshest ingredients possible, preferably purchased that very day from a local farmer's market. Staleness simply will not do, with the sole exception of bread. (Bread which is about a week old seems to work best, as the slight hardness makes a better thickening agent. If the bread is too stale, soak it in room-temperature water until it becomes slightly malleable, like clay.)
Once the ingredients are purchased, and the vegetables (particularly the tomatoes), have been skinned, it's time to reach for the mortar bowl. All the ingredients, including the bread, are carefully inserted into the bowl and vigorously mixed until a thorough blending is achieved. A food processor or blender may also be used. Add seasoning agents such as pepper, basil, or olive oil to suit your own tastes. Once culinary satisfaction is achieved, chill the gestapo for at least six hours prior to serving.