Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Daddy brung home the bacon

July 26, 2006

Jamón Iberico
Jamón Iberico, oooh Mama!

If you haven’t been home for six weeks, there’s really nothing that screams ‘I love you, Mama!’ like a big fat ham. Especially when that ham was raised on acorns, rooting around under the dappled shade of oak trees in Southern Spain. I swear these animals lead better lives than we do. Just compare your potential career as a ham to travelling back and forth across the Puddle and to and fro from the Continent and you’ll understand where I’m going with this. So after six weeks of absence, Mama was pleased with the return of her ham-bearing man, but more importantly, it seems she has developed a talent for shaving off ultra-thin slices of the complexly flavoured meat.

What, you like my cooking?
Mama ends up being a superb ham slicer

Only a few short days after his return, my parents arrive for their first visit, and nothing screams, ‘Welcome, crazy Jewish people!’ like a big fat ham. My family has its own funky brand of Judaism, ‘Jewism’ as Mama calls it, and we don’t let centuries of learned post mortem debate and culture get in the way at the dinner table. I’m certain that my porkatarianism stems from the forbidden fruit aspect genetically instilled in me by several millenia of inbreeding. Growing up, my folks would eat bacon and call it ‘veal’, giggling at each bite, like eleven year olds smoking their first joint.

Dirty toenail
I am fascinated by the dirty toenail!

Pig fat oozes through the cloven hoof
Pig fat oozes through the cloven hoof. So what’s not to love?

Villarpriego Jamón Iberico
The label tells everything and nothing at all

Dinner with the Rents, my father looks exactly like Larry David and the lovely Barcelonita has big time shpilkes.

The director of the Purissima Hills water board
And he’s frozen that way

And another Internet career begins
‘I am not your photographic plaything! Speaking of which, did you know that Paris Hilton is Jewish?’

Some people listen...
Some people listen when you tell them ‘Make love to the camera, Bébé’.

debra at 10:42 | | post to


  1. Iberico Bellota arrives in the US for the first time! I earned my culinary wings in a Sapnish tapas restaurant in the Mid West and fell in love with the legend of Jamon Iberico Bellota. I travelled to Spain with express intent of having this ham and had my first bite in a mini bistro in Zaragoza, heaven. Now I am priveleged to work in one of the finest delicatessen’s in the States and I am now able to sread the love of this amazing pig. Coincidentaly, Zingerman’s is a Jewish deli where Pig is King. This has become our unofficial motto on the retail counter.

    Comment by Aaron — July 26, 2006 @ 22:00

  2. Are there any customs issues with bringing in a leg of flesh?

    Comment by Micky — July 27, 2006 @ 22:27

  3. Interesting. I’ll bet the vegans will just love those pictures.

    Comment by Duane — July 27, 2006 @ 22:30

  4. Micky, I don’t know about customs outside the EU. I’m sure some ham-maker in Virginia has seen to it that there are customs issues. I know you can’t sell all manner of raw and unpasteurised foodstuffs to the US. To find out, I would pay a visit to a jamón website and see if they export.

    Comment by debra — July 28, 2006 @ 14:05

  5. Aaron, the \’snogge\’ or synagogue in Amsterdam where I go for Yom Kippur is called the PIG. Portugees Israelitisch Gemeenschap = Portugese Israelite Community, a gorgeous 17th c. building and community to boot. Sometimes I sit next to a lady whose family name is Gomes or Robles and I know that her family escaped the Inquisition (and the German occupation in WWII) and his been in the Netherlands ever since.

    Pig-eating Jews are allright with me. Non-pig-eating ones too, but pork resonnates like no other animal protein can.

    Comment by debra — July 28, 2006 @ 14:13

  6. Duane, the poor vegans that come to this blog will surely understand by now that I’m a woman of contradiction and love a raw beet like no other, but also have a small place in my heart for a pig toenail filled with fat.

    Comment by debra — July 28, 2006 @ 14:15

  7. And I thought my nice chorizo from the hippie market was already something :)

    Comment by Remco — July 29, 2006 @ 23:14

  8. Hi, in the Spanishtaste shop, Jamon Iberico will be very soon available in USA.

    Comment by Jose — August 27, 2007 @ 14:37

  9. That iberico Ham is not available in the U.S. yet, although there has been buzz for over a year that “It’s coming soon!”

    You CAN get excellent Serrano Ham in the US, though, here:

    Comment by Gabriel — October 16, 2007 @ 18:49

  10. Mmmm… Yum… wild edibles…

    Comment by Jeff Pool — September 20, 2009 @ 19:55

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