Thursday, 12 November 2009

Good Eating, a Joselito Jamón and me

Welcome to The Good Soup.
At least, the good soup before the 'other' good soup is ready to eat. Or maybe this little blog will remain 'a' good soup forever? I'm not sure. My friend, Clarissa, said I should make this blog happen so people know I exist. I think she's right, but I can also be so shy about these things. I'm not sure I know yet what I will tell you...

I'm starting my own business. A food business. For a long time I've worked for other people, people with great food dreams. Still, I was always working on their dreams, not mine. And I've plenty of my own. At the moment, Guillem and Renata are helping cook up one of them: The Good Soup, which is a website about really good food, and the good skills, good books and good sourcing that make it sing.

Sitting around our new friend, the Joselito Jamón, probably (arguably) the most ethically produced Spanish ham I could find, I reminded myself of these three goods.

I had to, because sometimes they flap away from the scene of such a thing as this jamón. A Joselito Jamón: in turns absolutely exquisite and exquisitely repulsive. The smell: low, broody, animal, carnal, insidious. It must have crept down the four floors to the street that night, because now there were two Spanish men sitting at the table with me, and only one had been invited.

The skills: Cutting the leg with a thin, bendy knife so that it is just so deep into the leg to bring away flavour and texture in the right balance. Finding the right bread, the right drink, the right mood, to allow room for the jamon to sing.

The books: Hervé This's little essay on Spanish Hams: on why the leg's flavour is contingent on the pig's wildly ranging, acorn rich life. Judy Roger's descriptions of what ingredient combinations can possible match up to an animal that tastes like this.

The sourcing: Being sure that here before me is a leg from a pig that's lived a good life. How can I be sure? I can't. I've tried, but maybe not hard enough. This is when the 'goods' start flapping away and I'm left with a little disgust at myself.

I am appetites and I am justifications, and this ballerina footed jamón is provoking me.

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