I’ve been back from Spain now for almost two weeks and I’m still thinking Americans have got it all wrong when it comes to food and pace of living. Why?
• Virtually no one walks down the street carrying coffee and eating breakfast on the run. They actually sit or stand at a bar in a cafe and drink it and eat breakfast.
• The food is mostly local. Example: Orange juice. You ask for orange juice in the smallest bar/cafe and they toss a couple of oranges into a squeezer and give it to you. That’s right. Fresh squeezed orange juice is the norm, not the stuff of some high-end, pricey restaurant. Don’t even get me started talking about the bread.
• They eat their main meal at mid-day (and then can walk it off; in fact they mostly walk in general) and actually take the time to savor the meal because stores etc close from 2-4. Imagine trying that at your place of work!
• At night they eat tapas, ie little tastings of food, rather than huge meals.
• Drinking wine or beer at lunch is not considered a moral sin against the world.
• Each cup of coffee is individually made, meaning it is virtually impossible to get a cup of that warm brown stuff so often passing for “coffee” in restaurants across America.
I could go on, but you get the point. I’ve thought this before coming back from Europe but Spain seems especially laid-back and centered about what’s important in life. Each of the cities we visited had multiple vibrant plazas where people of all ages congregated late into the night. It was wonderful to see and to be part of. Here, we drive in our cars back and forth from work, and burrow into our homes at night, increasingly unaware of even our neighbors’ names much less interacting with them. It’s hard not to believe we’re missing something.
While Spain is not a place to go if you love salad, it is a place to go if you like eating light and varied food. Here’s a pictoral travelogue of some of what we ate and drank. Hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to visit Spain someday. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.