Images of Spain: The caña

     This, my friends, is a caña, the basic unit of beer consumption in Spain.  Looks good, doesn’t it?  Do not be  duped by the picture, as  it is hardly enough beer to constitute a sip, but it is the standard size in this country.  From there you can go upwards to a caña doble, una jarra, una copa, una pinta, etc.  But if what you are looking for is just a nip of cold beer with a tapa, this is your ticket.  You can enjoy an icy lager without being hampered by the effects…unless, of course, you drink ten.

      The caña has become a topic of conversation of late because more and more bars are promoting them at enticing prices…generally in the vicinity of 1€ a glass.  I recently saw one offering them for as low as 0.60€!  And a tapita to boot.

       Naturally this is a clever way of keeping the clientele coming back in these times of crisis.  It’s a way of saying, “You don’t have much money because you don’t have work,” so come a drink at my place for next to nothing.

       Many people have remarked on these great deals.  They say it is not normal how low they have gone.  But I feel that it has been my duty to tell them that we should not be that impressed.  After all, all these places are doing is charging what they should for a caña.  What was not normal was paying 1.50€ for a caña and getting a couple of wafers of potato chips to snack on…and with no smile.

      Let me remind you…prices have gone up about 82% since the conversion to the euro ten years ago.  Salaries, around 16%.

      A caña, the real kind in the form of a small glass, is about 150 ml, less if you get served with a lot of foam.  That’s a little over 5 oz. in the English system.  I know that because I actually checked it with my measuring cup in my own kitchen.  Good to see I am putting it to some use.  And that’s draft beer.  Five years ago we said yes to everything assuming the good days would never end.  And we put up with the unputupable.

      The caña is an image of Spain.  It is an image of Spanish social life.  It is an image of what Spain has gone through.  The same can be said of dozens of sectors.   It’s not that prices have gone down to save the economy.  They are lower because they have returned to what they should be in the first place…in accordance with our true buying power.  So drink up and take advantage of the crisis while it lasts.


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