Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jamon, Jamon, y mas Jamon!

The people from Madrid love cerdo (pig)! I could see this from week one here. Most little bars give you a tapa or little snack when you order a drink. My guess it about 89% of the time it's from pig. Chorizo, Lomo, Bacon, Panceta, and Jamon just to name a few. There are lot's of shops in the center that are dedicated to just pig meat. One of which is called Museo del Jamon (Museum of ham). I was just curious to see how many Museo del Jamon are in Madrid so I Googled it for my area and to my surprise I found eight close to me! In these Museum they had rows and rows of pig hips and legs hanging down from the ceiling to cure the meat. Not only is it a surprisingly large amounts of meat in the shops, it's also where people sit down for a beer and snacks right where the meat is hanging.

Another aspect of the food I found really surprising was the markets. I went to Valencia last weekend with a group of friends and we went in one of the biggest markets in all of Spain. I saw every type of meat hanging around you could think of and more. The photo posted above is actually a quite modest picture compared to ones I was considering of posting but even I couldn't stand to look at them again. Things like: small animals completely whole and skinned, brains of an animal next to the skull, whole goose, chicken heads, and skinned frogs just to name a few. And this was before we went into the seafood section. They had everything you could think of and more. Whole fresh octopus and squid, live eels in a swallow pool, and lots more. Needless to say it was definitely a cultural shock from what most Americans are used to from packaged food bought at the supper market. However, the fresh fruit and vegetables was a nice sight to see.

The food is great in Madrid, and was as well in Valencia, but I would recommend trying new things and not just the things you are used to. There are of course a large selection of food from all over the world here but if you eat pizza, or McDonald's while your out here you not really experiencing the culture or the food. The Spanish people know how to cook Spanish food; so eat that. Eat pizza in Italy and just stay away from McDonalds in general is my opinion. I always ask the waiter what he or she recommends and from this I had one of best things I've eaten here... also the worst thing too- that's just because I don't like anchovies and other salty fish on top of potato chips. However, I tried to eat as much as I could because I didn't want to waste it and she was so eager for me to try it she gave it to me for free.

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