Sunday, December 28, 2008

April fools

Today Spain celebrates Dia de los santos inocentes a holiday like April Fool´s Day where jokes are played on people, and when played on celebrities the results are played on TV. They take it a little farther here than in the USA, as sometimes jokes are made a part of the newscast or newspaper, beware. So, on December 28th be on guard when in Spain.

Anther curiosity I have noticed is that it wasn´t until the day after Christmas when I finally heard a Christmas carol and just this weekend all the national TV stations are playing Christmas themed movies...I was expecting them on Christmas Eve and Christmas day (like the TBS 24 A Christmas Story marathon) but when I woke up Christmas morning there was nothing Christmas related on TV. But, apparently Christmas isn´t such a big deal here, Nochebuena (Christmas eve) is a big dinner, and Santa Claus has started delivering gifts to Spain in the past 20 years, but what everyone is really waiting for is New Years and the arrival of the Three Kings on January 6th. So, now that Christmas is out of the way, its time to get in the holiday spirit with the music and movies to build up the anticipation for the parties and gifts that are yet to come. Funny.

Friday, December 26, 2008

La Nochebuena

A little taste of Christmas Eve (Nochebuena) in Galicia...
Buey del Mar


Bogavante (Lubrigante in Galician-it's like a lobster but juicier)



It was quite an interesting spread. All seafood except for bread and delcious Albarino wines of Galicia. Considering I have not eaten much seafood beyond frozen fish sticks, Red Lobsters, and Long John Silvers...I was a little scared. But, it wasnt that bad, the Rogaballo and the Bogavante were my favorites. I hope you had some delious meals shared with family and friends, and that you had a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

street lights...

just imagine them twinkling...

Monday, December 22, 2008

El gordo!

It was the biggest lottery day in Spain today, the national Christmas lottery that officially begins the holiday celebrations. I woke up to the sound of the kids singing the numbers and the amounts...and a few lucky people walked away with the premio gordo (big prize) and 3 million euros!! Here's a taste of the surreal celebration:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sugar, please.

Yesterday I was listening to a radio program comparing holiday traditions in Spain and in the United States, specifically dessert traditions. I think I have commented on this in the past, but the dessert and cookie selection in Spain is very different from the selection in the states. Where our supermarkets and restaurant menus are filled with cakes covered in sugary icing with a million flavors and fillings, cookies that come in 100´s of shapes, sizes, and flavors, pies, and cheese cakes here in Spain you can find all of the above, but with out the variety and about half the sugar. Pastry shops here tend to look yellow and brown, flakey pastries and chocolates. I can´t say one is better than the other, I´ve had moments of missing a sugary cupcake but a chocolate dipped palmera (thin, flakey but moist dough wrapped in the shape of a heart with a solid chocolate coating) is probably one of my new favorite foods. But, on the radio preogram they were talking about the specific desserts that one must have in order to have Christmas here in Spain. They are all store bought desserts and tend to revolve around almonds and flour two characteristics I found interesting when compared to our holiday desserts. Anyway, the two big mus have holiday sweets in Spain are Polvorones and Turron. Polvorones are like cookies, but unlike our cookies they come in specific flavors-lemon, almond, wine, and chocolate, and can break into a million sugary pieces if you aren´t careful with them. They are kind of like mexican wedding cookies if you have ever had those. I like the almond falvor, but stay away from the chocolate flavor it takes like pure cocoa and can be bitter. After Polvorones, and probably most well known in the world is Turron, a thick almond bark that can come either hard or soft. There is an entire aisle at the supermarket dedicated to turron, and beyond the almonds, you can also get it in chocolate, egg yolk, or coconut flavor. I like the original in both hard and soft. So, based on the radio programs, commercials, and supermarkets, these are the desserts that make christmas in Spain.Thinking of Christmas in the states homemade christmas cookies, especially decorated sugar cookies and gingerbread men mark the holidays. Every american child has memories making the cookies, decorating them with icings, sprinkles, and candy, and even attemplting to build a gingerbread house. And, cookies are a must have to leave out for Santa. But, I can´t think of any specific store-bought sweets to really make it feel like the holidays. Maybe some green and red M&M´s? I don´t know. Anyway...if you can think of any others, leave a comment, or if you celebrate other holiday sweets tradions, leave a comment, it will be fun imagine all the dessert possibilies. Enjoy the baking this weekend if you are in the states, and if you are in Spain, go get some turron before it´s too late.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Working 9-5

Good news! I will be teaching straight through to Christmas eve! A few of my students want to make up classes they missed while I was in the states! So it may not be 9-5, but it´s something!

Also, since coming back from the states I´ve rediscovered the joy of hot Cola-Cao, Spain´s version of Nestle Quik hot cocoa without marshmallows. It´s the perfect balance of sweet, creamy, warmth that hits the spot on the cool mornings and afternoons in my apartment. Speaking of cold apartments, I brought back a clock that has a thermometer on it, and was quite impressed to see that the average temperture day or night in my apartment is between 53-58F(on a good day with all the heaters running)!! So, as you can guess hot Cola-Cao is very comforting. And about marshmellows, living in Mexico it was not easy to find them and when I did find them they were colored like the mexican flag at Waldos 11 pesos shop. But, they are easy to find here in Spain, candy stores love gummy candy and the marshmallows and provide marshmallows in various shapes, colors, and flavors...rice krispies are a little bit more difficult to find, but I dont think strawberry marshmallow rice krispie treats would really be that great.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy homemaking

There is something about the holidays that always makes me want to be a little happy know making cookies, cooking delicious foods, trimming the tree, wrapping presents with beautiful paper and bows. With only a few days of classes left before the long holiday break (which here in Spain begins on Friday and lasts until the Monday after Jan 6), I´m taking full advantage the homemaker in me, the tree is done, the nativity scene is up, and as for presents, seeing as I missed 3 weeks of classes being in the states, I´m going to have to be creative. At least the beautiful paper and bows will be taken care of-when you buy something and say it is a gift the stores wrap it for you (like the Mr. Bean scene in Love Actually) or provide the paper and bows at the exit. Cookies will be a little more of a challenge since my oven has no temperature gage...and I´ll probably eat them all myself.

( other living in Galicia news- before leaving for the states I was having a terrible time with laundry not drying. I don´t have a dryer here, just a lovely terrace with clothes lines to hang dry my clothes. The environmentalist in me loves that, but the I need clean clothes now part of me was getting super frustrated with the fact that the week before I left temperatures were dropping, and rain was coming, meaning the air was humid and clothes wouldn´t dry. One load was wet for about a week even after I brought them in and hung them all over the apartment trying to dry them in the house. One week of wet clothes equals mildew city. Totally gross. Well, in good news, this week has been cold but sunny, meaning that yesterday I was able to wash and dry the laundry all in one day, without a single threat of mildew! From now on I will make the effort to plan my laundry around the sunshine.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boas festas

I dont think I heard the song Silver Bells in the three weeks I was home, and since arriving back in Spain (I haven´t heard a Christmas song except for Mariah Carey), but it´s been nice to see the way that it is Christmastime in the city...haha vaya intro. But anyway, i was a little worried about how being away from home for Christmas for the first time in my life was going to go, but Santiago is looking very cute. Although the houses are more like apartments, and only a few have lights in the windows and balconies, the streets are filled with hanging lights in sparkling stars, snowflakes, christmas trees, etc, and most of the shops and restaurants have little christmas trees in their windows and on the sidewalks, or huge nativity scenes depicting the christmas story set up. It definanly makes the city feel like the holidays have arrived, and even if there will be no snow and no midnight christmas eve drive through the subdivision by my house, I´m excited to have Christmas here for the first time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Home sweet home

I've been absent from jamonlandia for a few weeks in a quick trip back to the states with the excuse of tourist visa expirations and the truth of wanting some delicious thanksgiving dinners and early american chirstmas time with my family and friends. Time is flying and my three weeks in the states are over in just three days. I'm excited to get back to Spain, but there is a bittersweet feeling of leaving home again, especially with christmas music on the radio, the tree glowing in the living room, and snow on the ground. If only the distances weren't so far.
Related Posts with Thumbnails