Consol, Bob, Angeles, Josepet and I before enjoying an afternoon snack.
Paolo, a young guest from Italy, once told me, "When we have a guest, we feed it." And so it is around the world. Angeles and Josep, our friends and hosts in La Seu D'Urgell, had arranged for us to meet "some very interesting friends of ours." Josep, a surgeon, had performed surgery on Josepet some 18 years ago and they had all become friends. We were invited to see their home in one of the 1000-year-old villages in the Spanish Pyrenees near the border of Andorra.
The food on the table above was made entirely with products from their own chickens, pigs and garden. Pan con tomate y jamon (tomato bread with salt-cured ham) is a typical breakfast, snack or light meal. A small version on crusty baguette rounds becomes a montadito. A better view of the table is below: Another common food for tapas is tortilla de papa (potato and onion omelet.
Home grown escarole, potato omelet and a poron of wine are added.
The use of porons to serve wine is typical of Catalonia and always foreign guests are given a free poron lesson. Below you will see me trying the poron for the first time--with the precautionary bib--as Angeles gets me started and slowly moves the poron out to a wider arc. The skill lies not so much in hitting one's mouth but in learning to breathe and swallow at the same time. The only drops spilled were when I decided I'd had enough. Beginning is easier that stopping.
Drinking from the communal poron.
A few years ago Josepet was forced to retire for medical reasons and turned to art and carpentry as both a hobby and a source of income. We toured his workshop and were shown some of his work. The photo shows mostly portable items to take to the various Market Days and Fairs in near-by pueblitos (small villages), but he also showed us beautiful China cabinets, table and chair sets and shelving units.
Josepet in his workshop
Before we left, Josepet gifted me with one of his reproductions of the antique salt cellars. In the photo you can see three completed ones with their half-circle handles. The dark-colored one nearest the left side of the photo now sits on my kitchen table. He also sent with us tomatoes, figs, escarole and other plants from his garden which Angeles used for lunch the next day.
One of my special joys is to meet people in their homes, living their normal lives. Consol and Josepet are two wonderful people who have joined my list of special characters from around the world.