I’m not a nervous pig eater, but I’m also not well-known as a food experimenter. No pink fish or sketchy street food when on the road and, knock-wood, I’ve always managed to avoid any lower gastrointestinal distress while traveling.
It was clear that Spain is a country that loves its meat products, especially Jamon, served in many possible configurations. It was an indulgent treat to basically have it every day, except my last when my system clearly reminded me that there are things called “vegetables” and they are “good for you.”
There are curious casual cafeteria or deli-style eateries where you basically get delicious warm bread, perhaps some cheese and definitely a variety of pig product, coming from cured shanks that have been hanging from the ceiling, you know..curing. There’s a whole system of ranks for the cured pig product, enough to keep the would-be dilettante satisfied and full of conversation about the vagaries of this-or-that curing process, dependent of course on what the animal ate when it was alive, what part of the land it came from, and so on. It’s like wine, or cigars or Finnish Saunas. It’s its own culture with a technical language, enthusiasts who know the great hidden places, and..everyone’s got “a guy” who can get you the special stuff.
Related, the Vida 11 event? The digital media arts annual in Madrid? Big deal — fancy deal, with lots of furs and stuff? Anyway — it was held in an enormous refabbed facility called Matedoro which was once Madrid’s slaughterhouse. The epic scale of the place is a testament to how much these fine, hospitable Spaniards enjoy their pig products and the image of lots of gimpy, peg-legged pigs is hard to keep from popping into your mind when you’re at a place like the Museo del Jamon, which is a museum, yes..but also an eatery.