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10/9/2000

Seņor Coche, the glory of

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:58 am

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Seņor Coche, the glory of chicharones! It’s been several years, since I moved away from New Mexico, since I’ve had chicharones. And I miss them. At a few Mexican restaurants here in Athens, I’ve asked if the cooks had any chicharones in the back. After getting over their amazement that a gringo would know what chicharones are, they’d laugh at the sheer notion that they’d have any to make. (Note: one place did briefly put them on the weekend brunch menu after I talked with them about it, but they didn’t stay) Chicharones are but one end product of a Matanza, what the first page referred to as a “pig fry”. Matanzas are family celebrations, usually held around Christmas. The centerpiece is the pig roast, which begins the night before and lasts well into the next day. In fact, the word “matanza” translates as “bloodshed”. The slaughter of the pig used to be a solemn event, as explained in this Spanish oral history project. (elingo.com does a fair job at translating.) The parties are a celebration of a successful year, Christmas, and the upcoming year. They are traditionally open parties, as sharing with neighbors is a major theme. Here’s a nice list of Spanish Matanza-related recipes, and the rough English translation. The air here turned crisp over the weekend, and brought to mind the wonderful traditional Matanzas I was lucky enough to attend.

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