Ilivetolearn's Blog

January 21, 2006

the hegemony of jamon

Filed under: food/groceries,Spain — ilivetolearn @ 2:47 pm

It’s hard to believe they actually raise enough pigs in this country for all the ham, pork, bacon, sausage, feet, ears, and various other byproducts we see in the stores. Seemingly every place of business remotely connected to food has rows of whole legs of cured meat hanging upright, hoof topmost, ready for purchase. They come with little white cups attached to the bottom to catch dripping…grease? What drips from them? You can also buy a special wooden rack to hold the leg in a horizontal position once it’s in your kitchen, though where you put the drip-catching cup is a mystery.

The only time I actually saw one in situ was at the home of one of Margo’s friends. As the mom sort of sheepishly explained, her husband’s company gives one to each employee as a Christmas gift, though you can opt for money instead. She said it’s nice to offer guests the culinary specialty of the country, but she has difficulty slicing it to the required thinness (some people take their personal leg of ham to a butcher each time they want to get slices) and is a little grossed out by the layer of mold that grows on it, despite her meticulously wrapping it in two layers of pelicula transparente (Saran Wrap) and draping it with cheesecloth.

A very popular chain of restaurants is the Museo de Jamon…we have yet to try one, though we do regularly order ham (especially the bellota, which comes closest to prosciutto in my mind) when we eat out. In fact, it’s hard to avoid ham, since slices appear on salads, chunks of it are in soups, and even pizza often has little pieces as a topping. Vegetarians, Jews who keep kosher, and Muslims are clearly not a major market factor for the restaurant trade.


1 Comment »

  1. Ah, Fairy dish-washing detergent. Brings back fond memories…

    Catherine G.

    Comment by Anonymous — January 24, 2006 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

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