Photo of the municipality of Taramundi in the mountains of Asturias.
Pote Asturiano. Asturian Stew. Ladles on ladles on this cloudy afternoon. You wouldn’t know it was June. The aquamarine coastline of Asturias lies with its tropical color. It’s freezing, don’t play games now. We have sweaters and rainjackets. We ascended the curviest road imaginable to get to this tiny mountain town, we nearly ipped over on ourselves. My friend’s mother, Anna, drove. There was shifting and stopping and thrusting and halting and Javier’s brother was grumbling and ponticating on the recent election and the majority coalition and Javier just kept winding him up more and more while I stared through the backseat windows at the dark, green wetness outside and marveled at Spain’s little secret. No British or German vacationers here, only one little American and Spaniards tired of the hot, dry sun. We visited a knife-making museum and ate local goat’s milk cheese.
Below: Photo of pote asturiano
We were dampened by all that misty mountain air and I slipped on the wet cobblestone street. We nally settled down at this local joint that served excellent pote Asturiano. Fabada beans swam through the golden-brown broth like cream-colored boats on a busy port. Here and there were bitter, leafy greens, the same color as the forest undergrowth outside. Throughout the dish were slick, translucent onions. So much garlic had been added that it infused the steam still wafting from its surface as I sipped and paused and sighed. Best of all were the slices of dark brown sausage, whose oils had slued o to marinate the soup in the fatty juices of pigs fed on acorns. This is the best thing I’ve ever tasted! That little American, they laughed, delighted by my delight. Anna smiled and paid for my lunch. I felt too old to be spoiled, and yet very grateful. My pockets were light. It’s strange to be twenty-three. So I stued myself with the greed of one who knows they may never taste the like again.
Above: Johanna Burr is an MFA graduate student specializing in creative writing at Iowa State University. She also works as a part-time professor teaching English Composition. Her poems and essays can be found in the OWL (Ohio Wesleyan Literary Journal).