a diatribe on spanish foods and why i love the spanish grocery stores

Yesterday, i realized that i have a sickness. While in the US, I thoroughly enjoy shopping for groceries, because I love to cook all kinds of different things (the quality is debatable, but still) and I love to know what’s in my food and if it’s good for me (okay I”m kind of a freak). Here, I’m basically incompetent at understanding the labels on food, and have given up trying and decided to instead just assume that the food is kind of mediterranean and therefore not too unhealthy (minus the myriad of chorizo, various cerdo (pork), fried foods that they love, and overabundance of bread). So that kind of frees my mind when I go to the grocery store to browse the products. And I have discovered that I have a sick, delicious love for all things Spanish grocery stores. I went shopping with Pedro the other night, and we went to the Alcampo – this shit is like the Wal-mart of Spain. THEY HAVE EVERYTHING. I just wanted to waltz down the aisles, touch all the delicious sugar-filled goodies and purchase them all. And purchase I did. I even purchased some red meat – yesterday, for lunch, I made a steak and it was AMAZING (not as much red meat here – no, seriously, their “hamburger” is pork…. made that mistake the first night I was here). I have an abundance of food at my house, a lot of which was kind of a crapshoot because I couldn’t read any of the labels. So far, great success. Yesterday, in my cultura y civilizacion class, my profesora gave a powerpoint presentation on food that is traditional in spain. A lot of it, like octopus, I have seen. Others, like the murcilla (blood sausage), I don’t think I will be eating. And some of it, like the paella, I can’t wait to try. It was really great, and prompted me to go to the carrefour yesterday, for the second day in a row (that I was at a grocery store, alcampo was the day before) and I just walked around to buy some seasoning… and some coconut milk, so now I can actually make my curry. As much as I wish I had a Spanish madre (living with a family) to cook for me some delicious Spanish food, I’m actually enjoying taking care of myself. Gives me some control over the situation? I don’t know. Anyway, it was great grocery shopping with a Spaniard the other day because I got a better idea of what kind of foods they eat, and what’s good and what’s not. OH! And I found real milk! In a bottle! Here, the milk is in a box, and the eggs are unrefridgerated, and it freaks me out. But lo and behold, I have discovered real milk and have bought it and have made a cappuccino with it this morning and it was good. OH SO GOOD.

Okay, done rambling, here’s a brief update on life since returning from the roadtrip from the past weekend. I’m feeling about 1000% better, which is great – being sick was cramping my style.

Monday – Uneventful. I was sick and cooked some food with my lovely amazing ladies from Loyola.

Tuesday – Went to classes (finalmente!) and spent some time studying on campus (I know, a first). Ryancito told me that we would have some form of a quiz in our Grammar class, so I took the freak-out road and decided to buckle down. I went to the cafeteria to eat some food and ran into my teacher from Politics and Government, she sat with me and we had some interesting conversations. She’s an expat from California, and has traveled to some crazy places and has some really great ideas. It was so neat to see the dichotomy between professor-student relationships here and in the states – I couldn’t see many of my professors at UCF stopping to watch me eat some food and just sit and chat. It was actually really nice. Entonces. I returned to my casa, Pedro stopped by to get his grandpa’s sunglasses that Ryan had accidentally stolen from Cadiz, and then Hunter and Marcus randomly showed up, which was great. Pedro invited me over to go swimming at the pool at his parent’s house, which was so exciting for me because I actually got to see the inside of a real spanish house! Ahhh!!! It was so neat – Spanish people here don’t really have houses, they have pisos, which are more or less like townhouses or apartments in buildings that are connected. The pool was fun (cold) and we went grocery shopping, and then I came home to sleep and study.
Wednesday – Classes like normal. The “quiz” was actually a bunch of really easy conjugations. I came home and spent the better part of two hours cooking and talking to my Spanish roommate Patricia. She is absolutely the shit. She has lived in the house the past two years, and currently is studying for her exams (different schedule). She was showing me pictures of her friends, we were discussing relationships and all kinds of stuff, all in my broken horrible spanish. I think we’re friends, and I think I really like her a lot and am so glad she lives with me… she even showed me some tips on how to cook the Spanish food…. and you know how I feel about that. I hustled over to the train station to meet up with my dear Marcus, and we booked it to Madrid, where we proceeded to do some shopping (YAY) and it was really enjoyable. We also headed to the Plaza Mayor and sat on the cobblestone and ate some bocadillo (sandwich) that he had packed in his backpack. It’s the life. Seriously. I wish I could spend my life sitting in the middle of a giant, gorgeous european plaza, eating sandwiches and talking about life and whatever else comes to mind. It was awesome. We came back on the train, and I headed out to Nivola, the bar here in the residencias. It was kind of lame, but I did get to see a bunch of my friends, so that was good. After a beer, I retired to my home and that was that.

Now I’m in Malaga, one of the buildings in the Alcala Campus that’s in the center of the city. I uploaded a bunch of photos to facebook from this weekend, which I still need to tag and describe and whatnot, but I’m sick of being on the computer…. so, you can check them out here:

Cadiz #1: http://ucf.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2191558&l=c084b&id=5100208

Cadiz #2: http://ucf.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2191560&l=1c4f9&id=5100208

Just make up your own captions. 🙂

This weekend, I’m heading to Valencia, on the east coast of Spain, on a bus, and staying in two hostels with some lovely ladies from Butler. And probably Ryancito and Marcus. I’m working on booking my flight to France, Amsterdam, and London. I’m so happy here, I don’t really want to think about December. But I miss you guys and am bummed that I’m missing the first football game at UCF on Saturday!!!!!!!! RAWR!!!!! Oh well. Tell me about it!

I will post my address in a little bit so you can send me things. I know how much you want to.

BESOS y ABRAZOS for now…..

One thought on “a diatribe on spanish foods and why i love the spanish grocery stores

  1. ah I LOVE your pictures. Amazing. I’m so glad you’re having such an awesome time over there. I miss you like crazy.
    Love Love love

    Lina bean


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