Sunday, January 27, 2008

What to Eat When You Feel Like a Farmer

Do you ever feel like a farmer? I know. Me too. All the time. I mean, without the hard work or the early mornings or the government subsidies. (I'm working on the latter, actually.) But exactly like a farmer no less.

Just the other day, I woke up with an overwhelming urge to eat like a farmer or a lumberjack or some other human doing hard physical labour outdoors. What would a Spanish farmer eat, I asked myself as I charged down the street to the market (sadly, not a farmers' market) for something that would satisfy my farmerly needs.

Let me tell you, when it comes to a farmerly appetite, there's a lot to choose from at a Spanish market. What caught my attention on that particular morning was butifarra. I know, it sounds vaguely obscene, doesn't it? But I assure you, it's a legitimate meat, an "embutido", or sausage, to be exact.

Butifarra comes in permutations for every possible mood, including the farmerly. Butifarra blanca, for those days when you're feeling fresh and clean and like curing all the world's ills, is made of lean minced pork. Butifarra negra, for days when you're nasty and out for revenge, is pork both lean and fat mixed with hog's blood. Butifarra de huevo, for when you feel repentant (perhaps for your more blood thirsty moments) and like you want to hang out in a chicken coop, is a mixture of egg in good portion along with other edible things and is typical of Lent and Semana Santa, which are coming right up.

On this day, I stopped at butifarra de huevo, even though more butifarra choices presented themselves. I took it home and fried it up in slices along with some onions and white beans (not an atypical Catalan accompaniment to butifarra) and served it with a farmerly bread. Then, I thought about going out to the fields for a little ploughing or sowing or some such sort of thing, but I was feeling a little sleepy from all that farmerly eating so I took a nap instead. And that put an end to all my farmerly aspirations, at least for the day.

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