People here in Spain often ask about typical American food. Is it really the hamburger? I usually answer that the best “American” food is regional, not national. I was “home” a few weeks ago and had a long list of must-eat foods. Among the everyday eats such as bagels, Mike-n-Ikes and goldfish crackers, were Chicago-style pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs as well as St. Louis’ traditional toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake.
In light of that trip, and the resulting 5 pounds I am trying to lose, I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately.
Spain in general is an utter treasure-trove of delicious eats, but I’ve come to the realization that when it comes to typical local cuisine, Madrid got the short end of the stick. Granted it’s a matter of opinion – which regional dish is the tastiest – but I’m willing to bet that one of Madrid’s oldest and most famous, callos a la madrileña, is not a fan favorite. After all, how can stewed cow guts and noses compare with Valencia’s paella or Andalucía’s gazpacho? They can’t, which is probably why said dish hasn’t triumphed all that much outside of Spain. You’d be hard pressed to find it on the menu of any Spanish restaurant back in the States, and I have yet to have a friend or family member visit us who is willing to try it.
That being said, there are obviously plenty of Spaniards more than willing to slurp up the stew, and it is commonly included in the offerings of the menu del día during the winter months. Although, I have noticed that the closer you get to the Plaza Mayor the less likely you are to find it. Tourists, after all, frequently rely on the pictures to chose what to eat, and let’s admit it, callos are simply not that photogenic.