With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart: New Friends

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Friends

Geography makes no difference.
Language makes no difference.
You know in an instant nice people.
You're warmed by their kind smiles
friendly manner
genuine laughter.
John, Juan, Paloma, Aldara, Lorraine
We had a most delightful morning with Aldara's family.
Juan is Aldara's father and is in the United States from Spain for business and visiting family.
Juan speaks and understands English very well and although
Paloma knows less English, we quickly realized what a
sweet lady she is and enjoy her company.
 How excited John was to receive a gift of Jamón serrano which is a delicious national treasure of Spain
Jamón Serrano
Fresh hams are trimmed and cleaned, then stacked and covered with salt for about two weeks in order to draw off excess moisture and preserve the meat from spoiling. The salt is then washed off and the hams are hung to dry for about six months. Finally, the hams are hung in a cool, dry place for six to eighteen months, depending on the climate, as well as the size and type of ham being cured. The drying sheds (secaderos) are usually built at higher elevations, which is why the ham is called mountain ham.
Jamon Serrano country ham is a source of great pride among Spaniards. From time immemorial in the mountains of Spain, they have rolled fresh hams in sea salt and hung them from their rafters to cure. A year to eighteen months later the jamones are ready to mount on special stands that are designed so that anyone can stop by, carve a few paper-thin slices, and enjoy an impromptu snack.
It is unlike the smoked and salty Virginia country hams, which have to be soaked and cooked. And it is even significantly different from Italian prosciutto, which is cured for a few months with a coating of lard. The Spanish jamón serrano has distinctly more flavor, and significantly less salt than country ham and less fat than prosciutto.

Jamón serrano is more than a delicacy in Spain; it is a normal part of every family’s life. 
What is the appeal? Jamon Serrano is a flavorful, natural ham, cured in the country air. This extended curing transforms the ham, imparting a deep flavor and aroma. This lengthy curing also means it is much less fatty and has a firmer bite than Italian prosciutto. You can serve it sliced paper-thin with cheese and olives, or use it to flavor your favorite Spanish recipes.
The secret to jamon lies in its curing, recreating the effect of traditional techniques. This tradition is kept alive in rural areas where in early winter, family and friends gather to slaughter their livestock in preparation for winter months. The hams are placed in sea salt for a brief period of time – approximately one day per kilo – and then they are strung up. They are allowed to experience the changes of temperature as the seasons progress. The right time to eat them is when an experienced ham-master inserts a long splinter of cow bone and whiffs the jamón, like a connoisseur of wine who sniffs the cork.
This lovely scarf is a gift from Juan and Paloma as well.
I will remember them each time I wear it :)
How appropriate that Forget-Me-Not flowers are blooming in the garden.
A prefect reminder of  new friendship!


Lisa RedWillow said...

You had such a lovely day. Your display of the ham is stunning and so are the little flowers . They are a fav of mine and love the color. You look stunning. That scarf is to die for. I would love it too.
Have a beautiful rest of the day.

Mildred said...

Aldara's parents look like lovely, warm folks and I know you all are enjoying this visit. I was not familiar with this ham and found it very interesting to learn about. The scarf/shawl is stunning on you. Thank you for sharing your visit and these sweet little forget me nots!

Shelia said...

What a good looking happy group! Love all the sweet smiles and what nice gifts! You look beautiful in that shawl! It's amazing how we can understand the kindness of heart when we can't communicate with words.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

Sounds like you had an amazing time with your new friends. I've never heard of that ham dish. Nice to learn something new. Your photography is outstanding!

Karen said...

Glad that you had such a nice time. I love scarves!

Kathleen said...

That looks delicious, and the scarf is lovely, you too!

Ann said...

What lovely gifts they gave you not to mention the gift of friendship. Very interesting info on the ham, I had never heard of it before. It certainly looks delicious.

Shirley said...

What a lovely photo. You all look so happy and sincere. Friendship is a gift that once given last's forever...and you have it!!!

Julie said...

What a beautiful friendship and such a lovely scarf!

NanaDiana said...

Lorraine- That ham looks wonderful..a great gift from some lovely friends! And that scarf is beautiful. I really like the size of it. I smiled to myself when I noticed you and your hubby were wearing co-ordinating outfits! What great looking "frames" you make for your photo! xxoo Diana

moreofhim said...

It's so wonderful that you were able to spend this special time together! Your scarf is lovely and you look beautiful wearing it!

God bless you - Julie

corners of my life said...

What lovely hosts you are.
Forget-Me-Not flowers are my absolute favorite {just above hollyhocks}. Yours are beautiful.

Susan said...

It's wonderful to meet people from different cultures, isn't it, LDH? Maybe one day you can go to Spain to visit your guests' home. The jamon serrano sounds yummy. Hope you all have a wonderful time. Bienvenidos a todos de ellos! Susan

marie said...

Well, it sounds like you had an extra special visit and how wonderful for Aldara to have a visit from her parents!
Thank you for sharing about the Jamón serrano ~ it sounds divine! Yum!

The scarf is lovely and it looks beautiful on yoo!

Janice said...

What a lovely post. You are such a kind and generous person, I am not surprised that you attract such nice friends.

Jennifurla said...

Love your scarf, very fetching!

gnee @ Singing With Birds said...

I'm so glad you had a wonderful experience with new friends. Your gifts are lovely and you are lucky, but they are the luckiest because you have loved their daughter, the sweetest gift you all share. People who love my children will be forever in my heart!

crochet lady said...

How wonderful to have new friends! So interesting to learn about that special ham from Spain.

Julie Harward said...

I love Forget me not flowers...and what a fun time to spend with nice friends, looks like a nice day! :D

Tracy said...

What a lovely scarf, but an even lovlier frienship :) I so agree; you recognize good people instantly, which is how I know who I want to follow in the land of blogs!
Happy Day to you!

Life In a Little House said...

How wonderful and what lovely gifts my husband will be going to Spain soon for work and I am trying to tag along with him :) ~Thanks for sharing lovely pictures and you look lovely in your scarf as well.
p.s. Anna has been asking everyday to make your peanut butter brownies since we saw them on your blog we have the recipe on the fridge I think tomorrow we will be making it.
~Love Heather

Vivienne said...

yes language makes no difference to friendships! :) i grew up on a street with neighbours from all parts of the world and ive memories of visiting their homes for dinner etc but i'm not sure if we ever communicated with more than 5 words :P the jamon looks delicious on the baguette!

btw, regarding the crumble question - i've never tried mangoes with pineapples in my crumbles but i've seen a lot of recipes online using mangoes with apples, mangoes with pears and ginger etc! oh check this out: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2006/01/mango_apple_crumble.php

Maggie Ann said...

What a great time of fellowship you must have had..and the shawl is really nice. And the ham looks like a treat too. I love forget-me-nots, we used to have them but they died out. Still have lots of lily of the valley though!

Trisha said...

Your pictures are so amazing, and the scarf looks quite lovely on you! What a sweet reminder of a special friendship.

natalia said...

Ciao, We love jamon serrano ! love to meet foreign friends


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