¡Hola de nuevo!
I hope you are all having a fantastic time in Seville. After almost two months here (yes, time flies!) I am sure you are already quite familiar with our gastronomy and words such as tapas or churros are already part of your vocabulary. But our gastronomy is much more than new flavors; it’s a fantastic gate to understand our culture:
Expression of our rich cultural heritage
In our last post, we talked about Spain’s cultural heritage, and our cuisine is a fantastic way of discovering it!
The Romans taught us how to cultivate wheat and vines, which explains why we love bread and wine so much. The Arabs brought to Al-Andalus new ways of cultivating fruit, vegetables and our precious olive oil. They also introduced new products that are now part of our most renowned dishes, for example rice (no paella without it), spinach (have you already tried our famous espinacas con garbanzos?), sugar cane, or citrics (yes, that means our delicious oranges). The Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Visigoths also left their mark our gastronomy.
Tapas, a way of living
A tapa, which literally means ‘cover’ or ‘lid’, was originally a hunk of bread that was placed over the glass of beverages to keep the flies out. This simple concept evolved to its current meaning, a style of eating. Going for tapas means sociability, cherished moments with your family and friends and informal gatherings in a relaxed atmosphere. If you are going for tapas, you know more or less when you are starting but you have no idea how the day will end (what we call in Andalusia a relío is not unlikely to happen: going for some relaxed tapas and ending up late at night or even early in the morning).
We love food
During my study abroad time in Australia, I remember my flatmates telling me ‘You Spaniards talk all the time about food’. And it is quite true, we are very proud of our cuisine and love sharing our family recipes (everyone will tell you how his/her grandma makes the best croquetas/gazpacho/whatsoever). Food is a way of relating to each other, of finding things in common.
In other countries food is seen as way of getting nutrients for your body, here it is a ritual that has its times and steps (therefore our very particular meal times). When we cook, we put a lot of time and effort into it and we love a nice and colorful presentation. But the most important thing is enjoying your meal with your family and friends, and creating a shared moment. When food is finished, instead of quickly leaving, we have what we call a sobremesa (literally ‘over the table’): time for chatting and simply enjoying each other’s company. For Spaniards how we eat is as important as what we eat.
And well, as you can see I could talk about food forever, but it’s better if you go and taste it! See you soon at the ESA picnic!