No, there are no vegans in Spain. It’s the ham.
It’s a good thing that I’m not a vegan, at least in Spain. Or a Moslem or an observant Jew (I’m a non-observant Jew) They have absolutely no idea what it means to leave the pork out of a dish. If you order green beans, say, it will come with a sprinkling of Serrano ham on top. They eat cones filled with ham cubes the way Americans eat ice-cream cones – in the street.
If you go to a big food market, there will be a huge display of pig legs, varying in age (age is good, like wine), in quality (you want the piggies to be fed on acorns), and in price. We visited the supermarket in the basement of the big department store (For some reason, the big department store chain in Spain is called El Corte Ingles – The English Court) to pick up some cheese and salami for a little dinner, and we found a festival, a celebration, an orgy of ham. The housewares department also had a wide selection of pig-leg holders. One end is a stainless steel cradle, the other end is a collar with a wing-nut to tighten onto the ankle of the ham. Both parts are anchored to a heavy base so the ham doesn’t move while you are carving paper-thin slices. Portugal has presunto and Italy has prosciutto, but nobody has the same obsession as Spain.