Niacka Carty: Spanish Vegetable Garden


The typical diet in Madrid is quite obvious. There is ham and cheese just about everywhere. A lot of the food shops in my neighborhood display a vast array of pork and cheese in the display window. Additionally, what was surprising was the lack of vegetables in Spanish meals. If I want to buy fruits and vegetables, there are designated shops where I can do so, since the grocery stores offer a limited selection of these items.
•   Additionally, tapas are essential in Spanish cuisine and the most popular tapas are pork based. I did not grow up eating pork; thus, I do not eat it very often as an adult. Additionally, I’m lactose intolerant; therefore, I cannot eat cheese. I was surprised to encounter museums that were mainly dedicated to ham but also featured different types of cheeses, El Museo del Jamón. Tourists and natives can visit these museums to sample and buy various types of ham and cheese for a low price of one euro (approximately $1.26) per sandwich. Moreover, all sandwiches are offered with a soda.
•   I quickly noticed and accepted that I was not going to find the foods I wanted immediately. It seemed that the only foods I would be able to enjoy in Madrid were the desserts and snacks. Snacks, las meriendas, are also commonly eaten before dinner, considering that dinner is eaten between 9 and 11 p.m. At times, it can be served as late as midnight. There are many candy shops in the city as well as sugar added to typical snacks. My favorite snack thus far is animal crackers covered with milk chocolate. When I first saw them, I said to myself, “Why haven’t I seen this in the United States?”
•   It has been a challenge at times to find the foods I can enjoy outside of restaurants. I visited five grocery stores before finally deciding on one that offers the foods I like. Before I found that grocery store, I ate at restaurants a lot. In order to escape ham and find other types of meats available, I went to a well-known restaurant that was on top of an indoor farmers market. The farmer market was the first and second floor while the third floor was the restaurant. As I was walking through the farmers market, I had doubts that I would find foods without ham. As I continued walking, I noticed a progressive change in available foods. I chose to have a meatless gyro dish. The most surprisingly aspect of the farmers market that I was saw a vegetable garden near the entrance of the restaurant on the top floor.