What Do You Do With A Drunken (French) Sailor?
There’s a style of writing, called “The Confessional”, where the writer talks about their personal life, often in great detail. Sometimes the stories may include spouses or partners. Other times, there might be scenes of intimate family gatherings. Or in extreme instances, they could involve, say, drunken French sailors. And on a less-titillating note, cats for some reason frequently show up as well.
I don’t write like that for several reasons: a) Because I don’t have a cat, b) Because my apartment is too small for anything very exciting to happen, and c) I’m a good boy.
(That is, unless you count that weekend when I first moved here and a friend shared the secret for having beaucoup de relations internationaux.)
Oh-la-la! C’est magnifiq…
Oops. Sorry. I digress…
So I’m ready to admit who I’m sharing my apartment with right now. I thought the time was right to let you all in on it, since it’s gotten to the point where I can no longer contain myself.
I’ve had this big, hairy hunk lying around my apartment for the past few weeks, and let me tell you, this is the best piece of meat I’ve ever had around here.
Jamón Ibérico is the most delicious ham in the world, cured from black-footed pigs which forage around the forests in Spain, snorting up wild acorns, which gives the meat has a distinctly nutty, earthy, yet robust flavor. The ham needs to be hand sliced, and ultra-thin, s’il vous plait, which is rather difficult since the meat is moist and for some reason (which I don’t remember from high-school biology) the pig leg has a bunch of wavy bones and joints that curve in more directions than a French driver does navigating around the Arc de Triomphe.
The best way to do anything, including setting up les liasions, is to ‘practice’. So I borrowed a long, thin knife and a friend fashioned a wooden ham-stand for me that’s taking up three-quarters of my precious kitchen counter space, to hold the greasy jambe in place while I sliced and sliced and sliced until I got almost picture-perfect pieces of the silky-smooth ham. Whisper-thin, and delectable, I’ve been enjoying it with chilled glasses of Banyuls, a fortified wine from area near the Spanish border. A delightful pairing, and one I recommend.
So now I know what to do with a Spanish ham, although I still don’t know what I would do with a drunken sailor around here. But I guess that’s not going to ever be a problem, since I’m in the midst of an extended rendez-vous with a certain Spanish suitor.
In Paris, Jamón Ibérico is available at chez David, as well as:
(Casual café and épicerie)
62, rue de la Seine
Tél: 01 40 51 00 09
(Slightly-upscale, but very friendly café and épicerie)
18, rue Jean Nicot
Tél: 01 53 59 96 96
Sur Les Quais
Épicerie (to go only)
Tél: 01 43 43 21 09
A number of butchers and charcuteries in Paris sell Spanish lomo, the loin, which has the same flavor of Jamón Ibérico, but is less costly.