I'm back in the country of... jamón!
Teresa, Fran, and Paula, were very thoughtful and waited for me return to Spain to make the first cut into the new year's gran reserva jamón ibérico! What do you think of my technique? Although he did his best to instruct me, I think that Fran remains the master! And now that my honorary duties have passed, the house rule has gone back into effect and he is the only person allowed to handle the jamón!
For those of you who haven't yet tasted this delicacy, jamón ibérico is a Spanish specialty product, and a pricy export. The ham you see in the photo is the rear leg (the front leg, of lesser quality, is called the paleta) of the unique breed of black Iberian pigs that are allowed to roam freely (mostly in Andalusian forests) and feast on a principal diet of bellotas, or acorns. The leg is then cured to perfection in salt, usually for about a year. It is eaten in very thin (delicious) slices, prepared by (Fran's) masterful wielding of an especially sharp knife.
Did you notice an excessive use of words like delicacy, specialty, perfection, and delicious in the last paragraph? It's because the jamón is that good! Generally people eat well in Spain, (that might be an understatement), and I'm glad to be back on the peninsula to eagerly embrace this tradition with new friends!