Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things I Ate in Cantabria

You may not know this, but the Iberian peninsula was once hopping with Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons--Cantabria, in the northern part of Spain, in particular. They lived in caves. They hunted wooly mammoths, bison and the like. Some of them painted incredibly sophisticated pictures with metal oxides and plant extracts...of mammoth, bison and the like.

In the Cuevas del Castillo, just outside of the pretty spa town of Puente Viesgo, we saw some incredibly preserved cave art, some as old as 28,000 years. It was mind blowing, to say the least.

But, more importantly, I ate cow stomachs. Perhaps the stomachs of cousins of the two cows pictured not far from Casa Sergio (Puente Viesgo), the restaurant where said stomachs were consumed. Impossible to say.

In any event, the stomachs (innocuously monikered "callos" in Spanish) were tasty. While, as you can imagine, the beige gumminess of your typical cow stomach is not particularly pleasing to the eye, these particular stomachs came in a rich beefy stew which lent them a little cover and, one might even say, nobility. The callos themselves were less chewy than expected, with a soft, part meaty, part fatty texture and an interior resembling a fleshy shag rug, which was particularly nice.

Judging by their depictions of cow ancestors, I think the cavemen would have approved.

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