May 23, 2024


Really, you gotta love Spain. I know I do. Maybe I’m now fully indoctrinated into Spanish culture because my first glance at the above Lidl advertisement in today’s Madrid 20Minutos free newspaper had no effect on me whatsoever – until I got to thinking about it.

The 2-page ad shows Spanish Christmas foods which every Spaniard appreciates – and at rock-bottom prices (Lidl is a super-discount supermarket chain in Spain). These holiday goodies include your customary Cava (Spanish “champagne”), strawberry-filled chocolates, “sliced leg of lamb”, Panettone, box of Christmas candies and cookies, a ham, and….. A WHOLE PIG CARCASS!!

That’s just gross! -Or at least I used to think so. How can a cute, little, hairless baby piglet be on the Spanish Christmas Food’s Top 10 List? Isn’t that just wrong? Spain never disguises its food, something which makes you cringe at first but later appreciate for their lack of… umm… shame. (errr.. is that the word I wanted to use?) But I mean that in a psychologically GOOD way. Why hide what it really is? Whole, baked fish on a person’s plate would oftentimes be pushed away at an American restaurant, but not here in Spain.

Now, after visiting Spain for 10 years and living here in Madrid for 4, I look at that fresh, young, supple piggy and my mind immediately begins to imagine him all crispy tanned, unrelenting juices flowing, and sense the tender, tasty flesh of its hind (or front) quarters after sinking my teeth through its crackly skin. And if I could, I’d snap off its ears and chew them with rabid crunchy munchies.

For those of you who don’t know Spanish food, what I’ve described above is the manner in which suckling pigs, called “cochinillos“, are eaten. They’re most often baked in wood-fired ovens and come out with a rich golden goodness, with flesh so tender it can be cut with the dull edge of a plate (as they demonstrate in many Segovia restaurant to the delight of hungry guests).

So next time you’re visiting Spain and see a full-sized skinned rabbit, whole octopus or de-feathered chickens at the local market, try not to scrunch-up your nose and judge Spaniards harshly for the way they like their foods; FRESH.

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