The conflict between the Catalán Separatists and the Central Government in Madrid has put a lot of us on edge, no matter which side we tend to sympathize with. I’ll share some thoughts about the situation in a later post, but for the moment, let’s look at the lighter side of things.
During this all-too-short stay in Spain, I’ve been drawing (among other things) subjects that exist here, but not in the the United States. It would be going too far to suggest that Spaniards, nominally Catholic, have something even closer to their souls than Jesus, Mary and choirs of saints and angels, but I believe they do: It’s jamón, that is, ham.
In nearly every market you will encounter jamón, not just any old ham from any old pig, but an amazing variety of them, including bellotas, the most expensive, because those pigs eat an especially restricted diet of acorns. You’ll also meet jamoneros, the men and women who slice the shanks or haunches, or whatever they are called, into slices so thin you could read your emails through them. Here’s a sketch of José, who works in the Central Market in Valencia. His customers come from all over the world, although most of them arrive from other European countries. He speaks English fairly well to the British and his Italian is beautiful to hear. Unlike other jamoneros, he doesn’t wear a metal apron or metal sleeves and gloves to protect himself from his “mistakes.”
At any rate, I have to close this post because it’s 9:30 at night and therefore time to go out for dinner with Paco and Isabel. Jamón, perhaps.