Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wisconsin 101: Ve are Cherman, ve are about efficiency

A nun and her drinking buddy at the Ham Museum in Madrid.

My friend Claire* is visiting from Memphis. She is not visiting me, but I get to take advantage of her being in Milwaukee. In January. Not many people who live in a place where the paperwhites bloom on New Year's Day would venture to the frozen north in January, but Claire did so for Dawn's surprise party.*

Look at all that beautiful meat.

Anyhow. While Dawn** is at work, I am taking Claire on the essential Milwaukee food tour. We go to Usinger's. She gets to see the bargain counter. We go to the Spice Store, the competitor to Penzey's Spices, which is headquartered in Milwaukee and is run by the Penzey's siblings or cousins or whichever Penzey's fought with the Penzey's who kept the Penzey's name for Penzey's spices. Then we go to the Public Market, which has a bunch more food places and that's where I find the serrano ham.

All along, I am spending SH's money like a drunken sailor - like the gold-digger that I am. Bargain bacon, bargain cheese, bargain dress at the fancy Goodwill store (we snuck*** in a visit there, too).

But when I find the serrano ham - well. That's full price. Dare I?

Oh yes.

Regardez as the Spanish ham master slices the serrano ham by hand.

I dare.

I do.

One hundred dollars worth of serrano ham confiscated by Customs when we returned from Madrid four years ago and thrown into the trash?

I buy it when I see it now.

So I ask for a quarter of a pound of serrano ham. The guy starts to slice it with the meat slicer. When I protest and tell him that in Espain, they slice it by hand, he says, "In Wisconsin, we use machines. We're busy here."

* Who reads this blog -- I never knew! I am always so excited to find someone who is not my mother who reads this blog.

** Dawn was also a Peace Corps volunteer, as was Claire, which is how the three of us are connected.

*** Yes, I know that word is not necessarily proper but it has become accepted through usage so get. off. my. back. Stink, stank, stunk. Sneak, sneacked, snuck. Wait. That doesn't really work, does it? Well. Whatever.


Lindy said...

So you're telling us, that in Wisconsin, we get up early, eat meat, use machinery, and pray for the Packers. That about sums it up.

Class factotum said...

Omigosh Lindy you crack me up.

Anonymous said...

Come east and see us in Williamsburg, VA! We have jamón Serrano in our retail store - and si si, we slice it by hand! Things move at a more leisurely pace here, than in Wisconsin, I suppose.

Class factotum said...

Oh yes, Wisconsin, where life moves at breakneck speed! :)