Spanish Meals: Just how many time can you eat in a day?

Yesterday’s meal nearly finished at five o’clock, and as I wandered back home with new shoes and applied two chickpea-sized blisters above my baby toes, I got to thinking.  Just how many people who have never been in Spain understand that you can depart from a restaurant at the same time most people in the world depart from work and say, “That was a great lunch.  Now what should I do?”  Aside from my dysfunctional feet, I made it home all right and basically unscathed. 

         Eating is such a serious matter in Spain that if you don’t really understand it, you risking starting you visit with a serious handicap.  This is how the typical schedule can work on, say, a workday:

  • Breakfast at home
  • Mid-morning coffee break (second breakfast – almost more important than the first)
  • Lunch
  • Mid-afternoon snack – known as the merienda (I guess it’s kind of the Spanish equivalent of the British concept of teatime)
  • Dinner

       That would be your basic 1.0 version, cost-free and with all the basic services included.  Here’s what the premium offer could have in store:

  • Breakfast at home
  • Mid-morning coffee break
  • Pre-lunch drink and snack (commonly known as the aperitvo)
  • Lunch
  • Merienda
  • Evening tapas
  • Dinner
  • Intravenous solution at the intensive care unit

          This would not be every day, of course, but it can happen.  And it does.  I can offer firsthand testimony.   So I will analyze this sector of Spanish life for your information and enjoyment and invite you to participate whenever you get a chance.  Plus, it just helps to know what you can expect before you say, as a friend of mine once told me on our way to yet another dinner, “Brian, I have not been hungry for four days.  Why are you doing this to me?  And why can’t I say no?” 

         Because that is what Spain does like no other country I know.  Just don’t tell me I didn’t warn you! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *