HomeQ&AIs anyone familiar with "jamones de Mena"

Is anyone familiar with "jamones de Mena"

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I have completed another chapter of Pepe Carvalho y una desconocida and now am listening to chapter "nueve". The chapter begins with the description of a sign (letrero) Carvalho reads when entering a warehouse packed with lots of "jamones".

The sign reads: "Jamones al por mayor Mena" which translates, I believe to "Wholesale Mena Hams".

I have read and heard about Parma ham, Jamón iberico, but none that are so well-known from Mena that I am familiar with them.

Using the map systems on the web, I found that Mena (Valle de Mena) is a city in the province of Burgos in the Autonomous Community of Castile and Leon. But no further mention is made of its being famous for its ham.

There also seems to be a tiny town Mena de Babia located in a Unesco biosphere. That sounded promising to me until I read in a Wikipedia article:

En 2008 contaba con 70 habitantes, cuya principal actividad es la ganadería de bovino, ovino y equino. Todo ello a nivel de subsistencia familiar, de autoconsumo.

That description does not lead me to believe that this Mena produces large numbers of hams...:

So if someone happens to have more information...Why "jamones Mena" ?? I would really appreciate it. Maybe one of you have even eaten this ham?

Thanks.

In the meantime, I will move on to chapter 10.

1704 views
updated MAR 8, 2010
posted by Janice

6 Answers

1
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I was looking into the question posed by Heidita in another thread about eggs: how does one spell sunny side up.

I first checked my Gran Diccionario Oxford (that English-to-Spanish half that I had cut away when I divided the Gran dictionary in two to make it more manageable).

Then I checked one of my cooking books, Harold GcGee's authoritative On Food and Cooking, the Science and Lore of the Kitchen. He writes on page 70 about fried eggs in parentheses

(eggs done "sunny side up," or cooked only on one side, are especially tricky)

This gave me the idea to check in a Spanish cookbook to see if I could find information about "jamón Mena", the subject of this thread.

Like my detective hero from Barcelona, I like to cook and happen to have a big book "Culinaria Spain", too...in English, unfortunately. It is from before I began learning Spanish and purchased here in the US.

I read about black pigs from the Baleares, and jamón Serrano in addition to a reference to Iberico ham, the ham I already knew about. But nothing, nada, about any little town or valley of Mena:--(

updated MAR 7, 2010
posted by Janice
0
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To be sure, I "mis-heard" the word "lajanías" - not unusual, my transcriptions are covered with red ink:-( But then what I thought I was hearing was reinforced by finding the word - albeit misspelled - in the Lorca poem on the website.

Now I have purchased Robert M. Hammond's The Sounds of Spanish: Analysis and Application and return, again humbled, to Katia Borras' reading.
This is tough! ..but the story is good, Ms Borras' voice charming and now with Mr. Hammond's help too .....Maybe I will make it through to capítulo diez where I will once again have the sense of being a raw beginner in this language.

updated MAR 8, 2010
posted by Janice
0
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Thank you, Heidita!

With regard to

In Burgos good ham is scarce, so it was not a good place to look for good ham

In our story, Señor Carvalho does not to think that the Mena hams are likely to be good ones either --, regardless of where they came from. I am sure that Digital Publishing (copywrite) and Montalbán will not mind my sharing Pepe´s thoughts on the subject with you here:

[Èl] desconfiaba de los jamones al por mayor aún más que de los pollos al por mayor. Un jamón al por mayor nunca puede ser bueno. Los jamones han de criarse de uno en uno, de diez en diez, pero nunca de mil en mil. Y producir malos jamones ésa sí, ésa sí es la anti-España.

updated MAR 8, 2010
posted by Janice
Oh...I forgot to add that José (our Señor Mena) would be sorely disappointed that you omitted the diérises in your post!! - Janice, MAR 7, 2010
yes, very funny spelling, very unusual, jeje - 00494d19, MAR 8, 2010
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Sorry, Janice, I have not answered as there was not much to say. Mena is a quite common name, actually. More so Gutierrez.

IN Burgos good ham is scarce, so it was not a good place to look for good hamwink

updated MAR 7, 2010
posted by 00494d19
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OK, I think I have found my answer.

Maybe you have already guessed: The jaundiced girl leads our hero to the almacenista who introduces himself as

José Mena Güiteriz - con diérisis, por favor

I just need to know more about Spanish names. It seems that this fellow has two last names. I think I have seen long, long Spanish names in literature before this. By comparison, this one is short, I suppose. Can anyone explain?

updated MAR 7, 2010
posted by Janice
0
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I just read this sentence in another post asking for help with definite articles. I assume a teacher who knows Spanish well set up the questions. "7. Mr. Mena va a la iglesia con nosotros. (Mr. Mena / church) "

Perhaps the "jamones Mena" are simply produced by someone with this name.

updated MAR 6, 2010
posted by Janice
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