Jackie Lilinshtein // New York, NY
As a student in Seville, I stayed with a very nice, welcoming and provincial Spanish family. Early on I informed my host mother that I was Jewish. She said to me, “Oh that’s OK, as long as you believe in the Virgin Mary and Jesus.” I also told her right away that I don’t eat pork and she seemed happy to accommodate my peculiar eating restrictions.
One day my host mother made a soup that looked and smelled exactly like chicken soup. She gave me a bowl, then said something in a fast, jumbled Spanish. I started eating, then suddenly after the first two bites I pieced together the unique flavor of the soup and what she had said to me: “Jackie the soup is very good, just don’t eat the meat.”
“Señora, is this made out of pork?” I asked.
“Yes, so don’t eat the meat,” she answered.
“But I don’t eat pork,” I said to her, frustrated.
She responded, “I know you don’t eat pork; I didn’t realize you don’t drink pork either.”