Christmas in Spain
Chef Richard Worthen
World Cuisine CL225 A
January 22, 2013
Like many countries in the world, Christmas in Spain is a national holiday, but for the Spaniards, the 25th of December highlights the Catholic religion. For Catholics in Spain, the birth of Christ through the Virgin Mary is the priority for all those who are followers. Due to the significance of Christmas Eve, the Spaniards reserve very minimal time for family dinners. Holiday festivities begin roughly around ten in the evening, when families gather for dinner. Followed after the dinner, families continue the night with, midnight mass, in Spanish called, “La Misa Del Gallo”, or literally meaning, “Mass of the Rooster”, and fills the city streets with lit torches, music, and also dancing. It only seems bizarre that a dinner only lasts roughly two hours, but becomes even stranger with the large portions of meats, and the absence of vegetables.
Majority of the dishes served during the course of the evening are those that have been part of Spain for centuries. Foods prepared for the big event are usually homemade, and does not require the use of modern machinery. Ingredients have also not been altered since it’s beginning. Although the portions of meat served in every household in quantities that may be overwhelming, this captures the people of Spain remaining close to their roots. When food was not as readily available, and meats were scarce, families would often leave special holidays such as Christmas as a day to celebrate with ingredients that are hard to come by.
A traditional Spanish Christmas Eve dinner yields a copious amount of many types of meat. The evening begins by serving a iamón, a cured ham that has been sliced into thin slices. Jamón is similar to the prosciutto, but the jamón is cured for a longer duration. A ham can be dry-cured for a maximum of 18 months, or smoked. Within the jamón are the two types of jamón, the Serrano, which literally...