In the previous post, I talked about Spanish cultural practices related to food. I explained how I no longer practice some of these Spanish customs because they did not fit with my current lifestyle. However, there are other practices I simply cannot follow for entirely different reasons. I have selected these three to share with you:
The Mediterranean diet
Spanish cuisine has an impeccable reputation linked to the Mediterranean diet. It includes plenty of fresh veggies, legumes, a wide range of meat and seafood and whole grains. It also includes healthy fats like olive oil. Its variety and fresh ingredients have many health benefits.
Living in a different country can sometimes mean your staple foods are not available there. This doesn’t mean that local foods are not good enough. Living overseas has allowed me to discover new flavours that I greatly enjoy. Now I cook with butter and coconut oil, I eat sweet potatoes, I have become an oat lover and I spice up my life with Indian and Mexican dishes. Wherever I live or travel to, I favour local produce over imported goods. However, there are certain pantry staples that will always be with me. In my pantry, there is always olive oil, vinegar, garlic and canned sardines. And in my fridge, you will always find tomatoes and dairy products.
This is a term that I love because it gives a name to a reality that doesn’t exist in other places. Sobremesa literally means “on table”, and it refers to the period of time after lunch when you have finished eating but haven’t left the table yet. During sobremesa, people have coffee and chat with each other for a few minutes while they finish up. It’s like “coffee+discussion” time. In other places I have lived sobremesa is not a common practice. I have noticed people don’t drink coffee after lunch and also people don’t stay longer than needed in a restaurant. Therefore, I don’t get to practice sobremesa, sadly.
I love going to tapas bars, but I haven’t found a tapa’s place outside Spain that actually serves tapas. Sorry fancy restaurants, you got the concept wrong and you are cheating your customers who don’t know any better. I still go to those places because I am always intrigued about their menu and they often have good reviews but they usually are overrated, unfortunately.
A real tapas place gives you a small dish, a bite of something. Because it is so small (so small it doesn’t make sense to share), it is cheap. Depending on the ingredients, it can cost you 2$ to 4$, and hear this: in some places, it is free with your drink!! (Whaaa!!??) So, yeah, I miss going with friends and doing some tapas bar crawling. By the way, going for tapas has its own verb in Spanish which is called “tapear”.
These are 3 food-related Spanish customs that I actually like but I am not able to practice. Have you ever been to Spain and seen any of these practices taking place? Do you have a similar experience living overseas? Leave me a comment below!
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