El menu peregrino

By Erin

One thing that is very memorable to me about the Camino is the copious amount of delicious food. There is something about walking all day that makes any meal taste good, and therefore good food tastes as if it were sent from the heavens. We would usually start off the day with a small breakfast of fruit, pastries, and yogurt before beginning the day’s walk. When we started to get hungry and lethargic a few hours in, we would stop for a café con leche, which is similar to a latte in America, and a bocadillo, which is basically a huge sandwich made on half of a baguette (and this is still before noon).

When all of us finally arrive at our destination, we would go to get lunch at a local restaurant. This is not your average lunch, however; it is a menú peregrino, which is pretty much a three course meal. For the first course, there was usually an option of a salad, pasta bolognese, soup, or some sort of fried food, such as calamari. The second course generally consisted on a protein (eggs, pork, chicken, eggs, lamb, eggs… did I mention eggs?) and French fries. Bread was also a common staple; we were served copious amounts of bread with every meal. After that, we would have dessert, which could be flab, ice cream, fruit, cake, or arroz con leche. Needless to say, we were fed well.

Like any peregrino, I had my favorite foods, which I will briefly explain:
Croquetas are little fried balls that look a little bit like hush puppies, except the inside is a mixture of meat, potato, and cheese. When croquetas were an option, we ordered them.
Jamón is Spanish ham, and it is usually smoked or cured. It is an ingredient in most Spanish foods, and is way better than ham in the United States. It is also a bocadillo staple.
Arroz con leche is a rice pudding, but better than any rice pudding you have ever had.
Tarta de Santiago is a dense cake covered in powdered sugar, and is completely delicious.

We also tried our fair share of strange foods, which you would be hard pressed to find in the United States.
Pulpo is octopus, which is usually boiled and served with red pepper. I was nervous to try it but found out that I actually love it, and it got better and better as we neared the ocean.
Oreja is pig’s ear, which I was conned into eating by my fellow peregrino Mark. I was not as big of a fan of that one.

My favorite part about traveling is generally the food that I get the opportunity to try, and Spain has been no different. We have had so much and so many types of food; I am excited to try more.

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