A picnic in the park. Love. Culture. Determination.

imageRe-creating a picnic I have had in another country is impossible, the setting, the company or the events surrounding.  The food, however; very possible.

Now, I was in my early twenties when I left on an adventure of a lifetime and took the giant leap to study abroad through the University of Minnesota’s Global Studies program. Travel to Spain and earn college credit. I had been taking Spanish since the 6th grade albeit not doing well, having Mexican blood fueled a fire within me to educate myself so that I would learn the language of my father’s family even though I had not grown up with him or around the language or culture. I was determined to speak it, live it and understand.  Once in Spain, within two weeks I was on the phone begging my mom to come home. Yup. She said no. Culture shock hit hard. Immediately soothed by sweet jamón Serrano, salty lonchas de queso Manchego (slices of Manchego cheese), pan fresca (fresh bread), a glass of Rioja and an extremely handsome Spaniard named Carlos.

3 months later I was on the phone begging to stay. My parents did come visit me while I “learned” the language over Semana Santa right after I was released from the hospital for having my appendix only minutes from bursting. Most of it was blocked from my memory. We spent several days wandering, exploring, and eating while having a blast. The best memory I have was when the three of us took a flight to Barcelona from Madrid, I was in school in Toledo about 45 minutes from Madrid. We took a train to Figueres to tour La Casa de Salvador Dalí. Amazingly creepy, wonderfully disturbing man, he was. Afterwards, we purchased several mouth-watering meats, fresh cheese, wine and bread and sat in a park nearby waiting for the train back to Barcelona. It was beautiful and perfect. That adventure has made my current life all the more full love and magic.image

Recently the Lake Harriet bandshell played The Princess Bride outdoors. #1 favorite movie. A Spanish picnic was re-born. Jámon Serrano, Queso Manchego, Anejo y Ibérico, fresh bread, dark chocolate and many other sweet and savory additions. Mostly purchased from the local Trader Joe’s, thank you TJ’s. I was in a state of los recuerdos de España (Spanish memories). Smiling, eating and thinking of el Último de la Fila. An 80’s Spanish band. They’re pretty good.

On that note, ¡Buen Provecho!

Señorita Tijerina

“Whatever it is you are looking for, I hope you can eat it.”