Jamón, the ubiquitous cured ham, is everywhere in Spain. You’ll see pig legs dangling from restaurant ceilings and in grocery stores. You’ll see pig legs in a holder in many restaurants and often in Spanish homes. There are different varieties and flavors of Jamón, which is based on the curing process, where the jamón was cured, for how long, what the pigs eat and the breed of pig. The price is based on all these factors. It looks strange, especially when you know it’s a pig leg but I’ve gotten used to it. I have to admit, I know nothing about jamón before I arrived in Spain. To the surprise of many Spaniards, I’m not a fan. I don’t like the flavor nor does the texture. It’s rare for me not to like something. After all, I like most foods I try. Spaniards love jamón, they’re accustomed to it, it’s a symbol of Spain and a symbol of their culture and gastronomy.
Churros and chocolate are a common breakfast in the winter, as well as a snack for merienda (around 17:00). Churros are a doughy, greasy, long slender doughnut. They are delicious warm, dipped in thick chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar. I find them heavy to eat a order alone and think they are best shared. You find them at many cafés, at outdoor markets, and at las ferias (fairs).
Cola Cao is a brand of hot chocolate in Spain. If you want hot chocolate, you ask for a Cola Cao. If you ask for Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Caliente) you’ll get a thick dipping chocolate that you dip churros in.
Breakfastis usually around 11:00 or so. Typical breakfast is toast (think baguette bread) with different toppings such as butter and jam, sobrasada (lard), tomato and olive oil, tomate y queso (tomato and cheese), jamón… I eat tostada de tomate con aceite about 2-4 times a week. Sometimes I order it at a café near my school or I make it at home. It’s easy.
On your birthday, the birthday guy/woman treats their friends to a meal rather than the USA custom of friends taking you out/paying for the birthday person. What do you think about that? You treat your friends for celebrating with you as you turn a year wiser.
Cell phones. You either have a phone plan (similar to the USA) or you buy credit (saldo). Each text message cost money to send. Often, Spaniards resort to llamadas perdidas (missed calls) to let the person know they received the text or to say yes to what was said in the text. It’s also used to let your family or friends know you arrived safely from wherever. You know in the states, when your friend says, Send me a text when you get home? Here they’d say, Da me un toque (directly translated: give me a touch), which translates to give me a missed call (da me una llamada perdida). Sometimes people also leave missed calls so their friend will call them back (and they don’t have to pay for the call).
I receive and send a lot less texts than I do in the States. There are no silly or endless text message chains. It’s nice.
Did you know jamón is everywhere in Spain? What foods have you tried that you liked, that you didn’t think you’d like, in Spain?
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