March 16, 2013 by cmcguigan91
“Comiendo, comiendo el apetito va viniendo,” is a Spanish proverb that means, ‘appetite increases with constant eating.’ A lot of Spanish culture and lifestyle revolves around food. People in Spain highly value eating and drinking together with family and friends.
In Spain, going over another’s house is only for family and very close friends. Because of this, social gatherings happen outside the house, in cafes or bars. Spanish people eat what is called the Mediterranean Diet, which is lots of vegetables and fruits, breads, fresh fish and meats, and lots of wine! In my house we eat many “platos de cuchara” (literally, dishes with a spoon) which are basically stews, and there is bread with every meal!
Desayuno is breakfast. This is eaten whenever one wakes up. For breakfast, every day I have two slices of toast with butter or jam, and a glass of orange juice.
Almuerzo, or lunch, is the largest and most important meal of the day. Everything shuts down in the middle of the day so that people can travel home for a large meal and a siesta. In my house, we eat lunch between 2:30 and 3:30. Chari makes the most delicious meals!
In Spain, cena (dinner) is eaten around 9:30. It is not a large meal, usually some type of salad or meats and cheeses, or soup.
Dessert (postre) is offered after lunch and dinner and is usually a piece of fruit or yogurt. Sometimes we have special desserts like bizcocho or arroz con leche.
I can’t talk about Spanish food without mentioning tapas! ‘Tapa’ means ‘lid’ in Spanish, but it’s also where ‘tapas’ comes from, the small dishes that are a staple in many Spanish bars. Granada is the home of free tapas! This means that when you go to a bar and order a drink, it usually comes with a free dish on the side. These are small dishes, usually something like bread with a slice of ham, olives, small bocadillos (sandwiches), or Spanish tortilla. Sometimes I will stop for a drink and tapas with friends after class, and sometimes I will go “tapas hopping” and just go to different bars for tapas instead of going home for dinner.
I’ve been trying to take pictures of all the different types of food I’ve been eating. I wish I could share the tastes and smells too, but hopefully you get the idea!
First, a Spanish staple, aceitunas:
My favorite Spanish dish, paella!
Some typical lunches:
The photo above is lentil soup. Whenever we eat lentils my spanish abuelo recites this saying: Lentejas, si quieres las comes y si no, las dejas! It basically means: Lentils, if you want them eat them, and if not throw them out. (I think there’s a deeper meaning about if you don’t take what you’re offered you get nothing, but really it’s just a cute little phrase the Spaniards say when they see a plate of lentils.)
Arroz Negro is made using cuttlefish (above, uncooked). The rice is black from the ink!
One time Chari took me out to dinner with her friends. After an appetizer and soup, this was the main meal (below)- a platter or vegetables (chick peas, onion, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes) and a platter of all different types of meats (chicken, sausage, blood sausage).
Now, for the tapas!
One of my favorite tapas is croquetas. They’re small breaded and fried rolls that can be filled with a mixture of almost anything- typically ham. The inside is usually light and smooth and the outside is crunchy- so delicious!
And finally, postre. Oranges are a typical dessert.
But sometimes we get something fancy as a treat:
And I’ll finish with a Spanish classic, churros and chocolate!
Some of the food I like, and some I don’t, but I try everything! I’ve left out quite a few typical dishes, like Spanish tortilla and arroz con leche, but I usually don’t remember to take a picture before the food is devoured! I’ll have to learn to cook some of this so I can share with everyone back in the States. Chari even told me she’d teach me to make her famous Tiramisú!
Uvas y queso, saben a beso. -Spanish Proverb