Over the past couple of years I’ve been surprised to see references made to the practice of canning seafood in Spain. It’s funny, to me, that it even comes up. For a kid who spent a lot of time in Spain, canned seafood is no more an oddity than a hot dog is to an American. In Mario Batali’s “Spain on the Road Again” there is a sizable amount of time in one episode dedicated to explaining the art of and care and pride that goes into canning seafood. Just last night as I was reading “The Nasty Bits” by Anthony Bourdain I noted he also made reference to this practice.
And so, I remembered this photo I had taken during our trip to Spain this year. I’m not sure whether it is because Spaniards are also becoming accutely aware of how acutely aware the rest of the world is becoming about its cuisine, or if it is just a sign of the economic times, but look at these cans of “berberechos”, or tiny cockles. They are encased in the same kind of plastic case that just released video games are encased in at the local Walmart. They have, in effected, been theft proofed.
I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have eaten berberechos. They were an every-other-day appetizer at my parents apartment, just after coming in from the pool and right before we ate. These, I’m sure, are a step above in quality – perhaps – than those we used to have. But I remember well opening the tins myself, and at a minimum they were the same brand.
Proof indeed Spaniards take their canning seriously. And at 75.40 euros/kilo, which at our current exchange rate converts to $108/kilo, I can certainly understand why they don’t want these baby clams walking out the door – even if they are on sale.