Tapas, Jamón and Seafood, Oh My!

I am still trying to sort through my experiences in Barcelona; getting acclimated to a normal routine has been interrupted by a frantic wave of cooking in preparation for Thanksgiving later this evening ( which will be another post). This morning I ate the last of my Jamón Ibérico and anchovies, brought over from Barcelona and jealously guarded all week.

Can you be homesick for a place you’ve been in only five days?

Barcelona food is fresh and unashamed. Sure, most things are fried, but whether it is a calamari ring or a ham croquette it is made with love and respect and your stomach (like a dog) senses this and accepts it with open arms. How else to explain my lack of indigestion despite five days of non-stop scarfing down ham, croquettes, anchovies, and more ham?

In order to bring some order to the cornucopia I have divided the offerings into three categories: The Temple of Jamón, Fish So Good It’s Not Fishy and Rainbow Eats.

The Temple of Jamón:

Spain takes its ham seriously. Ibérican ham comes from Ibérico pigs. These pigs are treated like royalty. The most sought after kinds eat only acorns. Imagine how good you’d taste if all you ate was acorns.

Jamón and the penguin from Madagascar. My life is complete.

 Fish So Good It’s Not Fishy:

No big spiel. The seafood is so fresh and affordable it makes you wonder why you had seafood anywhere else in life. The end.

Even clams deserve decorative flowers.

This is what an entire dried squid looks like.

No, this is not an impressionistic masterpiece. It’s a dish from Els Quatre Gats consisting of grilled squid, Iberico ham chips and some kind of brown sauce. It was beautiful.

Rainbow Eats:

So much of the food in Barcelona just looked so darn good. The effect of a rainbow was especially felt in La Boqueria market, where I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland peering through the looking glass into a world of wonders. Food wonders.

"It's a sponge, it's a bathmat, it's a deflated brain-no! IT'S TRIPE." I wanted to try some but I think that is more of a Madrid thing.

The cherries and tomatoes could have been interchangeable. I’ve never seen that kind of red, unless you count a firetruck.

Some juvenile butcher thought it would be funny to put these cow figurines in this intimate position. He was right; it is funny.

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