Yes I’ll eat that

John's Grocery, Iowa City, IA

There have been few moments in my life when I find myself hesitating before eating something. Usually the feeling is induced by mass-produced mystery meat or something else completely unidentifiable, but even then… I could probably be persuaded to try it.

Being an adventurous eater and living in a household where lots of strange things have passed across my table (I’m looking at you dad), I was surprised by Spanish Madre’s reaction to my eating habits. The fact that I did not need peanut butter and was willing to try everything was new for her; but it was the day she first called me gordita (a common spanish diminutive) that I knew that my ‘yes I’ll eat that’ attitude made all the difference.

Mallorca spain

It was a weeknight dinner, sometime in my first months of being there. The house smelled amazing, like onions and garlic, frying potatoes and something else I couldn’t put my finger on. It was a familiar smell, a little metallic and fatty. The lid of the dish making the piso smell so good was closed and I was told to ‘let it me.’

So I waited.

When dinner was ready, the table was filled with all the normal things, bread and water. My madre filled our plates with potatoes and onions and garlic and then, once everyone was served brought the large ceramic pot towards the table.

From left to right: My mom, myself, my 'sister', my 'cousin'

Another dinner in Spain

Warning me that I might not like it she asked that I try at least a little bit or that I at least the peppers and things that were cooking with it. ‘Ok’ I responded with a bit of nervousness.  What food could possibly induce such caution in this normally enthusiastic woman. And then i saw them. Small black sausages, cut and bursting from the ends of their casing and I knew what was coming my way.

She handed me one small piece and told me to try it. I asked for more and my madre looked at me incredulously. Did I really want another piece? How could I possibly know what was coming my way? But I did and I was excited to have the spanish version of kiszka, morcilla, or blood sausage. So my madre handed over a few more substantial links and watched in shock as I ate each and everyone with relish.

The sausage was different then the Polish, Irish, Scottish and English versions I had tried before. The sausage was smaller and less rice and more onions were used, but the creamy flavorful center and crispy skill still packed a punch. When I was all done and feeling as fit as a king, my madre looked at me, smiled, and said que gordita. It was the first time she had used anything other than my name and it was the first moment I was truly treated as a member of the household, though it also meant she got mad at how messy my room was.

Camino de Santiago spain

It’s not morcilla, but delicious ox tail.

 

I don’t think that I needed to have eaten all the morcilla in that moment, but it was my willingness to try. Too many of us travel to far or not so far places and are offered food that is not familiar to us. We reject it on face and it can feel like we are rejecting the culture. I love morcilla, but I didn’t love the grasshoppers a friend shared with me, but we were able to laugh about it. It is about a willingess to try that matter.

But now I have made myself hungry. So, until next time,
Keep eating the world
~La Gordita LU

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