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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Daring Days with Food and Drink
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 @ 9:40 AM

There's a mental gauge commonly employed by the British, who are used to their own starchy cooking, on Spanish food - as to how edible might it be. It starts at the bottom with chicken and chips and ends in the stratosphere with something like calf's brains or entrails of some description. Squid in its own ink, maybe. Most of us work our way up to around the three quarters mark, with some surprising and agreeable results. 

Only a courageous few of us will ever try the bull's testicles.

Towards the middle of my own standard of the Spanish cuisine, comes the leg of a young goat cooked in a rich sauce, or the blood sausage known as morcilla. I'm told there's not much blood in the morcilla - just enough to give it some taste.

I was drinking one evening with some low Spanish friends who persuaded me to try the morcilla, and I found it - to my surprise - to be very good. I can now even eat it sober. Encouraged, they then offered me a piece from an innocent-sounding tortilla de sacromonte (which I knew to be a beef brains omelette). Eww

The things one does when one's drunk.

There are one or two things towards the high-end on my gauge which I don't like at all - those little baby eels (angulas) that one is meant to eat with a wooden spoon. Chicken livers (although, turned into paté and relaxed a bit, I suppose that they aren't so bad). Partridge en escabeche, a kind of vinegary sauce popular with hunters and (less so) with their patient families, peppered as they are with bits of lead pellet from the shotgun blast distributed unevenly among the slivers of breast.

My dad used to want to clear the house every now and again. He would put an operatic record on in the sitting room and then fry up some kidneys. Between the ghastly noise and the foul smell, we would quickly agree to leave him in peace for a time. 

Back to the blood sausage - my wife Alicia tells me that at the matanza, the pig-killing, they boil up an entire sack of onions, mix it with a slew of spices and some minced pig, and them wash it sparingly with blood. Too much blood, apparently, makes it go hard. 

Having explained the wonders of the traditionally abrupt demise of the family pig, she moved to the subject of goats. We should get a baby one and then feed it up to be milked every day (by whom?). We would go and talk with the shepherd who lives just down the road together with his large and scruffy flock. The plan was that I should drink goats' milk. Perhaps build me up, I don't know. 

While the goat itself - at least a young one - is more or less edible, and its cheese is first-rate, I've never been able to bring myself to quaff a glass of goats' milk. I somehow imagine it's full of bits of stringy hair. 

There's currently a brick of it in the fridge, unopened, and waiting for my attention. Me, I'm waiting for the expiry date to come around, so I can say - well, I had to throw it away, it would have been off.



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1 Comments


lizy said:
Saturday, October 2, 2021 @ 9:07 AM

Oddly enough I had cabrito at my local restaurant last night. Cooked in the same way as a Greek kleftico, it was absolutely delicious.

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