As I explore Spain’s bountiful food culture, I find that it is an endless expedition and one that the locals are on as much as I am. If you aren’t currently talking about what you’ve made for lunch, what you’re growing or how you do your version of a local recipe, it’s probably because you’ve just finished talking about those things or because you’re just about to. Food and wine are the fabric of life here.
Amidst this smorgasbord of tasting, learning and new experiences, one of the most memorable I’ve had is participating in a traditional pig slaughter. It may be an off-putting thought for many of us city-dwellers, I know, but it is an event that is rooted in and celebrates community and sustainability.
Witnessing the work and energy that goes into preparing for the day, the killing and processing the meat is thought-provoking and raw. Perhaps even edging into spirituality and certainly drawing bystanders and participants to look directly at the cycle of life. And then subsequently to ponder what that means to us. If we choose to eat meat, there is no more humane or organic way of doing it, but it is a practice becoming less and less functional in the face of easy consumerism and difficult-to-meet food safety laws.
As published in hidden europe, my article below provides a window into the culture and people of rural Spain and looks at their efforts to preserve this ancient tradition, el día de la matanza.