Seeing as though it’s the most important meal of the day, I thought it deserved its own post.
The meal schedule in Spain is one of the biggest things I had to adjust to when I arrived for the semester a million years ago. Basically, breakfast is coffee and maybe a danish or a few biscuits, or maybe even a quick bowl of cereal at home (the “biscuit” and the cereal aisle are some of the bigger ones in the grocery stores I’ve been to!). La Comida (literally translated as “the meal”) is Spain’s biggest meal of the day, usually eaten somewhere around 3:00pm. And dinner is somewhere around 10:00, and is normally a lighter meal, like tortilla (this kind, not the Mexican version!) or some fish and a salad. It seemed strange at first, but actually makes a lot of sense. Why eat your biggest meal at the end of the day just to go to bed for the night? Anyway, the adjustment was quick. 🙂
Here it means that nearly every day, we show up at C’s aunt’s house a few minutes before 3. Anyone or everyone could be there…depending who is in town or work or school schedules (the table has two leaves for easy adjustments!), there always seems to be room for one more person, and for that matter, food for twenty. Most days, now that Carlos is gone, it is me, C, C’s cousin/sister, Aida and his aunt and Uncle.
We always eat family style, and there are always two “courses.” The first could be a soup or stew or vegetable dish, and sometimes there are other miscellaneous foods out – jamon iberico, cheeses, pate and crackers, croquettes (yummmm, fried balls of creamy goodness), things I don’t really know the name of and maybe not even the name but I don’t actually know what it is I’m eating. And the second course/plate could be meat or fish or a big rice dish or a pasta dish, or gosh, on Sunday we even had moussaka. And always, always, always bread. But the Spaniards don’t eat bread like Americans – there’s not a mass scarfing of bread and rolls at the beginning of the meal, it is used much more as a utensil than anything else. Dessert isn’t that common – maybe fruit, occasionally some sort of pastry or something, but more likely on Sundays than at any other time.
Sunday is this same meal, but more people and more food and not just the big meal of the DAY but the big meal of the WEEK. And often preceded by “blancos” – meaning everyone (not just who you are going to eat with, but basically everyone in town) is out and drinks white wine. Spaniards tend to have fancy names for very simple things. 🙂
So, you’ll also find that going out to lunch (for la comida) at a restaurant often involves ordering the “menu del dia” which at a set price, has a selection of first plates, second plates, and then desserts/postres/coffee. It’s actually a relatively simple way to order, in a world of ordering out that can get a bit confusing. Thankfully I usually have C with me, but in case I don’t, I tote around my trusty dictionary. I remember when I got here in college, one of my friends ended up with a pig’s foot. Like the actual hoof. Ack.
We didn’t go to C’s aunt’s today as they were just back from being out of town, so I decided to whip up some butternut squash soup and we made a salad. I’m not quite a very good Spanish housewife yet. Maybe someday. Or not.
Oh, and I made some more brownies this morning, in what I think is like a 7X7 pan that we borrowed from C’s aunt. Thanks to my measuring spoons and cups and kitchen scale, I think I have all the ingredients down, now I just have to tackle pan size. They are super fudgy. 🙂