The Spanish American

Don’t get me wrong – I’m pretty American in a lot senses. I love air conditioning and convenience and free refills. Yes, please. But today I got to thinkin’ (now that phrase right there, it’s pretty American)…there are some parts of me that are more Spanish. I guess it’s pretty hard to avoid, after having lived there for over a year total. And as I thought some more, I realized a lot of them had to do with food. Yes, food. I like food – buying it, cooking it, smelling it, tasting it, eating it. Yum. I like feeding others, as my boyfriend can attest to. In many ways, Spain just does food well. One point for them.

Olives. Before Spain, I hated olives. Now, I shudder just thinking of my ignorance. Olives, who can hate them? (And yes, I know, sadly many do.) They’re briny, salty bites of goodness, and they have a pit, called the hueso, bone, in Spanish. They’re the perfect bar food, and you can’t deny it’s fun to spear them with toothpicks. They complement any good salad wonderfully. Plus, they’re cheap in Spain (when they’re in season). I could get a kilo (2.2 pounds) for two euros at my local frutería. Not bad, not bad at all. I like green and black, but my favorite were las pardas, the dark brown ones.

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Along those same lines, olive oil. Olive oil is so rich, fatty, full of goodness. You can fry things in it (the cheap kind), or if it’s the good kind, drizzle it on absolutely everything: bread, cooked vegetables, salads. I love nothing better than a nice salad with a soft-boiled egg and good, strong extra virgin olive oil. It is heaven. Mario loves his breakfast of bread (baguette-style), honey, and olive oil. Oh yeah, and his English breakfast tea. That too.

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Red wine. Oh, red wine. Before going to Spain, I was truly ignorant of this delicacy. I totally count it as a fruit serving now, don’t worry. I would happily drink 3 Buck Chuck and not understand that I was downing glass after glass of acrid, unpalatable swill. Never again. Mario’s parents almost always had a glass of wine with lunch and, through them, and their non-cheap-wine-buying ways, I learned to appreciate new tastes. I found my new favorite go-to wine: Elias Mora. It’s the perfect not too expensive wine – ripe, rich, and fruity. It’s a dark ruby-red and a pleasure to drink. Now, I’m no wine snob. The most expensive wine I’ve ever had was just a few days ago, and it was, indeed, amazing, but it was only $30. So don’t take me for a pija (snob in Spain Spanish).

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Eating dinner late (but only on the weekends). During the week, I’d prefer to eat around 7 or 8, but I love eating late on the weekends. There’s something so sophisticated about dining after dark. It makes it seem more fun and it’s a better excuse to get dressed up. Plus, I would feel weird eating tapas before at least 8:30 PM. I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t agree. Heck, Mario doesn’t really! If I get hungry, I’ll just eat something beforehand and try to wait, sometimes unsuccessfully.

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Paseando. Like I said in a previous post, paseando is an ingrained part of the Spanish lifestyle and I really like. I also like having the ability to walk places in a short amount of time. Mario will meet his friends and leave 3 minutes before he’s supposed to be there. Now, this is only possible in smaller cities and towns, but still, it’s so refreshing. These types of ladies are omnipresent, too, which is a bonus.

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Recycling. At least from my experience, people rock at recycling. Plus, it’s just easier. These sorts of recycling bins are about every other block, super easy to find, and convenient, as people have to take their trash to gray bin anyway. Why wouldn’t you recycle? I love it, especially because it seems as though Mario’s family recycles everything. Not to mention there’s just not as much plastic waste because you have to pay for your bags.

So. In what ways are you more Spanish (or other culture)? In what ways are you so. totally. American.?

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5 comments

  1. I’m absolutely Spanish in terms of meal times – today I didn’t let myself eat lunch until after 2, simply based on principle! I’m pretty American in a lot of ways though – the first thing that comes to mind is that I’ll smile when I pass by people or say “Hi!!!” enthusiastically when I answer the phone.

  2. I’m completely American in my love of dressing up and getting into things, especially Harry Potter! But also things like holidays. It was Bastille Day yesterday and not a single person wore blue, white, and red, whereas almost everybody wears America’s colors on the 4th!

    I’ve become French in a lot of my mannerisms and facial expressions. I’m pretty sure a little grunt is not an acceptable way of responding to a human being in America, but they do it all the time here and now I do it when talking to my parents on skype, haha.

  3. I keep a very spanish part with me – the one of being able to tolerate incredible quantities of food and alcohol. No, really. I’ve even got this certain “reputation” at work of being small but having an incredible stomach! Obviously, my favorite days are those in which I spend 12 hours eating and drinking with friends (something I’ve not yet managed to do with anyone else – ok, besides with italians!).
    But some in some other aspects, I think I became a bit swiss. I don’t like getting late to places, don’t want to meet late (when in Spain I remember getting ready and leaving to the first bar at midnight). Also, I’m much more active and haven’t been able to have a siesta for months (or even years). I kind of get the feeling I’m missing out something or even that I’m not being “productive”.

  4. One thing that amazes me about Spaniards, even to this day, is their ability to talk so incredibly passionately about food. An American will say, “Yeah, we grilled some ribs,” but a Spaniard will go into details about the spices and methods and side items, etc. Plus, they’re willing to talk about the deliciousness of the future meal when they’re still bloated at the table of the previous meal.

    My favorite is the Spanish vacation that consists of eating and drinking until you can’t stay away anymore, sleeping, and then starting immediately back with the eating and drinking upon regaining consciousness.

  5. Yes yes, the Espaniards know red wine, or wine period, we get it. BUT, they don’t know beer. They don’t brew good beer, and they don’t really serve good beer. And “believe you me” I’ll take a dark, rich, frothy beer over a slightly below room temp glass of red wine any day. Or is it slightly above room temp? I don’t care ;)

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