Eating in Spain

Allison Soderberg is a senior majoring in magazine journalism with a specialization in English and Spanish. She is spending winter quarter traveling in the historic city of Toledo in Spain.

“What you mean you don’t eat no meat?!” That was the infamous line from the 2002 small budget film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  That line struck on a personal note the first day living in Toledo, Spain.  While no one actually said those words, the implication was there had I been a vegetarian.  Chorizo, jamón,  pollo…and did I mention Chorizo??  It’s similar to salami, but different; and you can expect to find it in any restaurant you go to.

But here in Spain, there are two more important words everyone should know within two hours of experiencing Spanish cuisine:

The first, is pan (i.e. bread).  Pan is the most common side dish to any meal.  Pan…for breakfast.  Pan…with lunch.  Pan…with tapas.  Pan…with dinner.  I would  say that Pan is an essential to any Spanish household.  It’s impossible not to see a person with .85 euro piece of French bread sticking out from their belongings on a walk down the calle from the local supermercado.

The second, tapas…TAPAS!!!!!  We American’s could stand to take a lesson in the ways of dining from the Spanish.  Let me shed some light on the subject:

You go into a hole-in-the-wall bar in Toledo and ask for una cerveza.  Much to your surprise, not only is the beer served refreshingly cold for a mere 1 to 2 euros, but a tray of scrumptious appetizers are placed before you, and may I include–Gratuito.

are the equivalent of appetizers in ole’ U.S. of A.  However, unlike home you don’t spend as much on them as you do on a meal.  It’s a wondrous system:  More Cerveza…More Tapas.  And as a traveler living on the ole’ “college student budget,” what more could a girl ask for?!


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