Ah, vacation. Isn’t it great? I never choose to spend my Christmas holidays traveling, as many do, but instead I venture home every year in order to spend time with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and many more. (Mario stays in Spain to be with his family work.) This means I think less about blogging and more about baking Christmas cookies, watching IU basketball, and hanging out with my parents. Yeah, I’m that cool. Fortunately for me, I’ve had the opportunity to reunite with some close friends from high school. I haven’t laughed like that in a long time! It’s great to be with people who you really identify with. I’m beginning to see why I’m okay with not wanting to live in Spain forever.
Anyway, all that to say: let’s link! Are you ready for some thought-provoking bits of information? Of course you are!
I really enjoy reading Janet Mendel’s blog. She writes about her kitchen and culinary adventures in southern Spain. Like me, she is a Midwesterner. She wrote about a traditional Spanish Christmas food I’d never heard of—the cardoon.
Cat wrote about her favorite Spanish Christmas traditions, which include Sevilla’s beautiful Christmas lights.
Christmas is about food (among other things), and in Spain it’s no different: food is the perfect way to gather the family, sit down to a huge meal, and talk and drink for hours. What foods remind you of Christmas? For me, it would have to be turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, pies, and Christmas cookies. Let’s not talk about eggnog, please. In Spain, things are a little different (as always).
What do Spaniards eat at Christmas?
Keeping in mind that this varies by household, here are some of what Mario’s family and friends along with my students here in Madrid eat for Christmas:
If you don’t know much about Spain, this may surprise you: Seafood? At Christmas? But yes, it’s true—seafood is one thing my students always mention when we talk about Christmas meals. Shrimp, prawns, octopus … you get the picture! Christmas and seafood, mariscos in Spanish, are not incompatible. Here in Spain, the selection is almost always fresh and good quality, so what’s not to love? Except if you’re an octopus hater like me.
Are we already on week four? I can hardly believe it. But I love link posts, so I hope there will be many more!
Young and Educated in Europe, but Desperate for Jobs. This post hit close to home, as I know many young and educated Spaniards without jobs. Many have had to go outside the country. It seems there are just no jobs here.
IU Dance Marathon raises record $2.6 million for Riley Hospital for Children. I am so proud of my alma mater for their dance marathon! They raise more and more money every year for Riley Hospital, a children’s hospital that does great work in the state of Indiana.
Tom Hussey’s Reflection Photos Give People a Chance to Look Back on Life. I loved seeing these photos of the elderly looking back at pictures of their younger selves. We are all young once. Let’s not forget that.
Thanksgiving 2013: This Year’s Big Trends. What’s out?: cauliflower and kale. What’s in?: appetizers. The big trend?: Bruléed pumpkin pie.
I miss peanut butter. This is the most common food question for many Americans who come to Spain: Where can I get my hands on some good old American-style peanut butter? Luckily, if you’re in Madrid, the answer is easy. Actually, most towns that have a Carrefour or Mercadona will have peanut butter. (Now whether it’s any good is up to you to decide.)
But there are many other foods we crave. As good as Spanish food is, I know I have a list of things I like to eat when I get home. I crave spice, Ranch dressing, cottage cheese, and mainly anything from Trader Joe’s. (Someone please bring a bottle of their Champagne Pear salad dressing, stat. Oh—and some trail mix.)
So how have all these cravings made me a better cook? Easy—necessity is the mother of invention. Or so they say.
What can the American expat make in Spain instead of traipsing from Taste of America to Al Campo to El Corte Inglés?