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Meet Don Oviedo
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-11-27 18:55:07 | San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
Keywords: Interview, work
He's been living almost all his life in San Miguel de Allende, seen the evolution of the American presence but I was mostly interested in knowing more about him and his occupation. Don Oviedo is a butcher. I know Mexicans love meat (and so do I!) and I know they eat or use every single part of the pig, so I was curious to know more about that part of the Mexican life.

I discovered Don Oviendo while talking with Margret for my Meet with Margret interview. She introduced me to him and we were able to meet and make this interview. Jaime Oviendo is now 57 years old and has spent all his life in San Miguel de Allende, except for a few months he spent in the USA.

He has been a butcher for about 25 years now and really enjoys his job which allows him to be in contact with his customers and help them cook good meals for their families. He's been at the same place, in his little shop, for more than 5 years now, so his regular customers always know where to find him. He works alone, but his wife helps with the cleaning and the sales functions of the shop. He lives right upstairs from his shop, so for him commuting simply means going up or down the stairs. He usually works from 7 AM to 6 PM, almost every day of the year, it's a hard job but he enjoys it, so it's not a problem and he doesn't see it as a work but as a part time. He takes only 3 days off during the year: New Year's Day, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

He earns a good living because butcher is considered a noble profession in Mexico, due to its importance on the food chain and his ability to maximize the utilization of the various parts of the animals. Mexicans like to say that EVERY part of the pig is eaten. The 'menudo' is the internal organs of the pig which are cooked together and usually served in tacos. The 'tripas' are the intestines of the pig and are considered a delicacy. The head is usually barbecued as a whole then the meat is extracted, also very popular with tacos.

The skin of the pig (aka “chicharron”) is eaten too... either cooked (looks like lard, but it's extremely chewy) or dried (after a series of chemical preparations) and eaten as snacks (just like potato chips). The skin is virtually fat free and it's almost 100% proteins calories. I personally love the dry chicharron, but I don't like too much the cooked one because of the texture. I will try to do an interview with another butcher and learn more about the process behind the dry chicharron.

He only sells beef, pork and chicken. His animals are only grain-fed and exempt of antibiotics and hormones. He believes it's better this way and provides a better more natural meat and his clients (only individuals) agree. He also sells some organic cheese. The most popular is beef but he prefers pork, because of the richest flavour.

What he likes most about SMA is the tranquillity, the historical environment and the numerous parks and plazas throughout the city. What he doesn't like much about SMA is the insecurity and all the robberies and murders around.

He thinks the foreigners presence (mostly Americans) is good for the city since it has no industries or big companies and lives only on the tourism and without them SMA would hardly survive. He noticed a few changes in the last few years, especially in the size of the houses... seeing bigger (and way more expensive ones!) being built for the people making SMA their new home. He also noticed the visits of younger Americans and people from other countries mostly for short vacations. Because of this important presence, he believes the future of SMA is good and he hopes that will bring prosperity to the community.

Thank you Don Oviedo for your time and generosity.

Related posts:
Meet Bartolomé
Meet Hugo...
Meet Margret
Meet Don José Luis Partida Garcia
Meet Rosa


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