Expat Story: Going to the carniceria
Going to the butchers in Spain is quite the networking event, as Rob Innis finds out.
I have just spent an entertaining hour in the carniceria (the local butchers), and no I haven’t lost it. To understand why spending an hour in the butchers really can be a good crack you have to appreciate the facilities in a Spanish butchers and of course some local culture.
The Spanish take their food very seriously. Both the eating and purchasing aspects – you don’t just rush in and grab the first piece of dead meat that you see and now neither do I.
In my carniceria, like many others here, there are chairs; television (I joke not, flat screen job too) and more importantly free samples of cheese, jamon (you have seen the legs hanging up in bars and restaurants) and wine (again I joke not). Let’s face it: the only word for this is civilisation.
Whilst waiting your turn, and why hurry, you naturally chat with your co-shoppers. The agenda is set by local events; why have they closed down? When will the new paseo be ready? When will the mayor get things organised? These all provide the fat to chew over as you chew the butcher’s prime free samples.
When your turn comes, as inevitably it does, you then face the agonising decisions of choosing what to buy. Everything looks so good. Ranging from the normal cuts of meat, real chicken de campo (it’s yellow and the way chicken is meant to be) to an amazing array of Spanish style sausages, cheeses, jamon, even hamburgers, rabbit, and lots more. Another sample is handed over the counter. It goes through my mind that at this rate I won’t need dinner. I explain that butchers are not like this in England “Really, no wonder you came here then,” agrees everyone.
I walk out some euros lighter but having shared a few jokes with the neighbours and having taken the edge off my appetite. Tescos - forget it.
I returned home to find the electricians had clocked off without returning power to our fridge, leaving me clutching a bag full of meat in urgent need of refrigeration. So I called the electrician. Initially he was reluctant to return but I explained that I have just returned from the carniceria with a bag of meat.
“Well why didn’t you say so? I will be there in five minutes” he replied and he was.
If you don’t live in Spain yet, you are probably thinking it all worked out well for me but you don’t have an hour to spend in the butchers.
Well at one time neither did I but luckily I ended up in Spain.
Rob Innis / Expatica
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Photo credits: fer tapia; jlastras; equality; Mercedes.. Life as I Pictured
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