"What is a typical day like in Spain?" Such a basic question that I somehow fell short of answering throughout my six-ish months of weekly (yes, weekly) trips across the pond and since my move here, a year ago. (Note: Time only matters when you are actually flying the airplane, so all timelines are approximate).
Here is our first attempt to show you.
"This is so much better than what you made in the U.S.," my mother declared after taking a bite of my tortilla.
Last spring, my mom visited us, here in Spain. Angel and I offered many options for food and activities, but tortilla was non-negotiable, because one cannot refuse a dish that can be complemented only by, "Muy rico!" because very delicious are the only words you can mutter between bites of devouring this plate.
"Yes, mom," I told her, smiling, "the ingredients are much better here. Plus, I was just learning to make tortilla when I first made it for you. It only gets better with practice."
She declared that she was not hungry, but consented to a tortilla of her own after we assured her that it would not go to waste and I would finish it for breakfast. The three of us sat at the round, kitchen table for dinner, each in front of potatoes and eggs muy rico.
My mom cut hers in half. "This will be your breakfast." Angel and I looked at each other and smiled.
She quickly finished half of her tortilla and cut it in half again. Minutes and sips of wine later, it was finished. As were ours. Thinly sliced potatoes and onions, cooked in olive oil, combined with beaten eggs, salt, pepper, and parsley (add garlic if you wish), and flipped like an omelet. So basic. So Spanish. Every meal tastes like a home-cooked meal.
First things first: sit down. Drink coffee. Café con leche is the typical morning drink. At home, I add honey, elsewhere, sugar. Toast with olive oil, puréed tomatoes, and salt is the popular dish for desayuno, breakfast. After lunch, order a café solo, single shot of espresso. At a typical restaurant, with the menú del día, your coffee is included (as dessert), as is, often, a shot glass of orujo, a clear green drink with an acquired taste that aids in digestion. To appear local, drink your café quickly and then sip the liquor, quite opposite of the US. Whatever you do, sit down to drink your coffee. Some cafes and restaurants may offer food and drinks para llevar, but you will rarely, if ever, see someone eating or drinking while walking or driving.
"There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day." - Hemingway
Two-hour lunches are common in Spain. This is not your mama's noodle soup (unless she is Spanish, of course). It is a typical Spanish soup made from the broth of cocido and flavored from various meats including pork backbone, ham leg bone, cured/aged ham fat, plus chicken or lamb (more flavor from chicken bones). Just add fideos, thin noodles. Serve with a spicy pepper if you dare. This is served as a first course, before cocido at lunch, or as a meal on its own. Note, it is also a great hangover cure, and pairs well with red wine (though what doesn't!).
You can't judge an egg by its shell! But you can learn a lot about it from its origin and how the chicken is cared for.
I can rarely clear my plate in the U.S. anymore. But in Spain, I rarely leave even a crumb.
Dinners in Spain are often late and light. You will not go hungry with only tapas for dinner, I promise. That is because of both the quality of the food and the pace of dining.
How do you eat when you travel? Do you eat like you are traveling or like you are simply living a day somewhere else?
Christine & Angel
Aisle or window
He likes the window; she likes the aisle. Match made at FL350. Here are some other travel preferences. Full disclaimer: These are affiliate links, meaning the authors are rewarded for referrals (usually in the form of a credit to use more of the product/service themselves). Pinky promise: Recommendations are simply the best.
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