Madrid cuisine is…different. But in a good way. I have come to realize that, per the teaching of one of my closest friends, that it is possible to like a food that you hate. Yesterday I experienced this with mushrooms. Due to my lack of food vocabulary due to too much subjunctive and not enough vocab, I thought “seta” was some kind of sauce, when ordering at a bar. I then ended up with a plate of eggs over easy on top of sliced potatoes, surrounded by a mound of “guck.” And being the adventurous individual I am I carefully picked around the “guck” as I ate my eggs and potatoes…however some guck made it through my semipermeable membrane…the result…a mushroom…staring right at me. It was too late, it was in my mouth, the fungal flavor was soon to overwhelm me, however instead I felt pleasant. Ok…I like mushrooms now, at least European mushrooms. To prove this point even more the big man upstairs decided to let me have mushrooms and chicken with pasta for dinner…and once again I liked it. Sorry Daddy, strike 1.
Have you ever seen a pig leg on the table? Yup…it is grodie. Want to know what is worse? When you find out that this meat is “cured” not cooked and you just hack off however many slices you want off the leg. A black hoof? All the better…stick it on some bread and there you have it, Jamon Serrano…a glorious tapa. So good, so wrong…Strike 2
Anyone that knows me from childhood knows the greenish, grotesque way that I turn when I even hear the damnable term “cheese.” Strike 3, I’m out. In Spain they possess this wonderful variety of queso called “manchego,” so good! Slap it on that bread with the jamon serrano and seta and it is like a party in my mouth, I cannot get enough of it.
That being said I have learned much about myself and my ability to expand my tastes. However, when my host family gave me green beans, I still gagged, a lot. Don’t worry Daddy, I am not completely on the dark side.