I go to the food fridge.
There is not a lot of food in the food fridge, as I have not been to the market for a while. Onions, potatoes, some condiments, a huge tub of Spanish anchovies, chorizos, cheese, tomatoes, ham.
I take some ham, guiltily, and slip it into my mouth. Its salty taste explodes around my lips, teeth and tongue; I savour the taste lustfully for many moments before swallowing in pleasure.
“Mmm!!!” I murmur, to the onions and potatoes. Then I have another bit.
I have always worked on the basis that you know you’re abroad if the ham’s shit. But visiting Spain has turned my whole world upside-down, from a ham point of view.
The taste of the second slice brings no diminishing returns, so I have a third. As far as I am concerned, Spanish Jamón is the new heroin. God knows how I am going to get off it. They should offer you a luncheon meat substitute on the NHS.
The food was one of the main things that I was looking forward to on visiting Madrid. I had very much enjoyed the Spanish cooking show on Channel 4 last year, which was presented by Thomasina Miers, the peckish man’s Kirstie Allsopp. But I had never considered Spanish ham before. It is so good, you could almost call it a waste of Branston Pickle.
A fifth bit. There is a doubt nagging away at me – that perhaps the LTLP’s idea to buy lots so that we can invite people round and hold a cultured ‘Spanish Evening’ might only half work. There is certainly – um – a lot less in the bag than there was when we landed back at Luton. She will understand.
I donated two pairs of pants to the Madridians: a black pair that had become grey, and a red pair that were still red but had some holes. In return, I took ham. If that’s not a cultural exchange then I don’t know what is.
I take a sixth bit. There is still enough left over for some hors d’oeuvres, perhaps if they were bulked out by some Pringles. I will never criticise another country’s ham again. I am ignorant.
I take a seventh bit.
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