Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage.
-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, June 2, 2008

Would you like more Jam?

So after 4 days in Spain, (Madrid and Zaragoza) I have yet to see the first vegetable. They love their Meat. Mostly pork and lamb. A major delicacy here is something called Jamon Iberico and is a salt cured ham from the hind leg of an Iberian Black Pig. It is served room temperature in paper thin slices (sliced by hand, amazing). Just like any other delicacy, it is available in several different grades, the most expensive being Jamon Iberico de bellota. This is the same breed of pig, but it lives free range somewhere near the French border and eats nothing but bellota (a type of acorn).
The first time I tried this stuff I really didn’t like it. It tasted good enough but it would leave a strange film in my cheek for about 30 seconds after each bite, and almost felt like that section of my mouth had gone numb. Then just as fast as it showed up it would disappear. Very disconcerting. But when in Rome, right? (or Madrid in this case) They kept serving it, and I kept eating it. The second day that I ate it, it didn’t seem as bad. And by the third day I was asking where I could get some to bring home. I have never in my life acquired a taste for something as quickly as I did with that ham. I am seriously hooked on that stuff.
Funny story. Part of the entertainment with traveling to a different country is the language barrier and all the problems it presents. In Spain the "J" in Jamon is pronounced… well I don’t know how you would put the sound in print. Think of that phlegmmy sound that an Arabic speaker uses when saying the name “Achmed”. In any event it is closer to the sound of H than J. One of our hosts on this trip is called JM. He’s the General Manager of our agent in Spain. His English was much better than my Spanish, and as such he knows that the English pronunciation of “J” was different than his. Not knowing the spelling for Ham in english, and so in trying to communicate in my language, he kept asking me “how do you like the jam?” “Ah dis is veddy good jam, no?” “Would you like more jam?”

“No, no. It’s ham, JM. We also say Ham.”

“Si, Si, veddy good jam.”

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