Spanish Meals Phases 6: Wrapping up the Day and Living to Tell it (part 1)

If someone were to suggest going out that evening for some tapas after all that you have been through up to that point in the day, it would be perfectly acceptable to tell them to screw off.  In fact, if you just threw up on them as a kick reaction that would do too.  There is only so much the body can take and only it knows how to defend itself with the right measures.  I can understand vomiting on another person, but don’t condone it, as a rule, unless maybe they’ve vomited on you first.  It’s just not a nice thing to do, like crucifying a saint on an X-shaped cross without nails. 

         But, the return to eating must and does come.  Thank God, there is hope.  Dinner is actually a lighter meal, at least in theory.  Most people slow down by that time of day and give their stomachs a break.  At least if they stay at home.  Fish, soup, cold meats, cheeses, salads and fruit are favorites, as well as sandwiches or even eggs.  I know someone who actually has cereal, which makes me think that maybe some are actually trying to get an early start on the next day…or that the cycle is non-ending.

         The first time I ever had dinner was when I was living with my Spanish family.  They called me to the table and slid a small plate with a fried egg on it.  At first I figured they were doing it out of courtesy because they had seen too many Hollywood movies and thought that was all we ate over there, but that wasn’t the case.  It was a common suppertime meal.  The fried egg, incidentally, is an institutional dish here and it is prepared in a special way.  They don’t use butter.  They pour a ton of olive oil into a small frying pan, then when it is hot they crack open the shell and plop it in.  The egg literally floats in the oil.  Then you take a spoon and flick bits of oil over the top half of the egg so that it is done too.  The key is to make sure the yolk isn’t too done so you can dip your bread into it.  The Spanish like dipping their bread into everything.  They are pioneers in the technique, and I bless them for it.

         Dinner is served no earlier than nine, unless you have kids who need to get to bed early.  Some foreigners from other countries do not believe me when I tell them this, but it is quite true.  Even ten o’clock is perfectly fine.  The Spanish normally don’t go to bed before eleven or twelve anyway.   

          Of course, going out for a meal is a totally different matter, as you would expect…and should.

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