Thursday, July 18, 2013

Barcelona Cheeks and Food Market

I feel like to truly represent the experience of this trip, for my future self and anyone else who cares to read about it, I must not leave out one of the most common sights in Barcelona.  It's something that I see every place we go, every train, every shop, every sidewalk is filled with them.  Cheeks.  The cheeks of buttocks!  

I'm probably showing the puritan roots of my culture, and that I am not usually exposed to so many people all in the same place, but I must admit that sometimes I can't help but ogle all the skin that is exposed.   I mean, I've seen more heinies sticking out of skimpy shorts and mini skirts than I've ever experienced outside of public swimming holes.  It's not like I'm trying to see them, they just saunter by and I can't help but look.  

I'm not complaining, mind you, I just think that I should own up to it.  Barcelona is filled with people who aren't afraid to show some skin!  I'm glad they are comfortable with their bodies.  And maybe, with time, I will also get comfortable with their bodies and stop feeling like a pervert because I notice how comfortable they are.  Of course, taking pictures of cheeks has probably elevated me to bonafide weird-o status.  This morning I was standing in la rambla with my phone camera on and snapping photos as naked rumps walked into my frame when Brandon walked up and, thinking that I was still taking pictures of the fruit market, asked me if I was getting some good shots.  I blushed.  Caught!

Mercat la Boqueria is the name of the market where Brandon's students did their drawings today.  It was an extremely crowded market, but for good reason.  The displays of fruit, vegetables, seafood, and meat products was totally worth the crowded isles just to observe.  


Our dorm room apartment has a small kitchen area, with a sink and a couple of burners, so I may get brave enough to try some seafood recipes now that I know where and how to buy them.  Probably not anything that still has a face, but maybe I could boil some shrimp without stinking out our neighbors.  

I do not think I will be trying any recipes that call for sheep head, or sheep brain, but you never know!

It's quite shocking how much the cow faces really look like faces, even when they aren't attached to a cow.  Do people really buy these things?  Sometimes I feel like they had somethings on display just to set an exciting ambiance.  But what do I know, maybe cow nose is tasty?  The cow stomachs and tongues had some really interesting textures, but I can't imagine chewing on any of them.  

After class we bought some pita sandwiches at the organic shop in the market.  It was very tasty, but I think their advertising was overselling the food just a hair.  There were wine shops with tables set up on the outside ring of the market to encourage those of us who bought food to indulge in a glass of vino and use their tables.  Pretty smart and greatly appreciated.  

I was limited in my buying by the capacity of by backpack, which is a good thing, and also a great diet technique.  If I did all my shopping knowing that I had to carry it all home on my back I would probably eat lighter, literally, all the time.  Brandon and I were knew we were bringing a salad to dinner tonight, which one of the other teachers husbands had organised to welcome me to the group, so I bought lots of salad fixings.  Some of the lettuce I bought because it was beautiful was incredibly bitter.  Once again I learned that you can't judge by looks alone.  

Some of the stands had already juiced fruit juices on ice that we could buy for one euro.  The blackberry was very nice.  


Several seafood vendors had these long skinny shells with slimy bits oozing out the ends.  I have no idea what they were, but I would like to see them prepared as food sometime.  There were also bags of snails, which I never see back home at Kroger.  

It seems that pork products are a big deal here, and the sausages come in with many seasonings.  I bought one of the orange sausages hanging second from the right and we cut into it as soon as we got back to the dorm.  It's not a spicy as I thought it would be, and seems to have red bell pepper flakes and seeds coating the outside.  

A friend of mine who visited Spain once said that she really enjoyed the artichokes that she bought at one of the markets, so I bought two.  When we got back to the room I googled how to prepare and eat an artichoke, which I have never prepared.  I cut the stem off and the top, and then cooked them in a few inches of boiling water for thirty minute or so until the leaves came off easily.  Then I served one to Brandon with a dab of mustard and mayonnaise.  He looked up from his ipad where he was working and instead of exclaiming in excitement he said "really?".   But, after practicing we got the hang of scraping the edible part of the petals with our teeth and each ate every scrap down to the heart and gobbled that up too.  Yes, really!  I should have done my research prior to purchasing the artichokes, because now I know to look for ones without brown edges that squeak when you squeeze them.  I'll have to try again.  Really.  

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