I won’t even lie; I miss food from the States. I miss Chinese take-out, Mother Bear’s pizza, Chipotle burritos, and Skyline chili. More than that, though, I miss breakfast food. You see, the menu is a little bit different in Spain. Even though I’m missing some food from home, I’m growing to love the food in here in Madrid.
The number one difference I noticed is ham. Ham is a staple food here. It’s for breakfast, for tapas, for snacks, and meals. They even have ham flavored potato chips. (They’re not the best, I tried them.)
At first I was thinking that it was cool to have so much ham. Quickly that changed. When I was in a residence hall for two weeks, ham was served too often. I hated ham for a time after that and complained a lot about it. Now, though, ham is normal. It has become part of my way of life. (I still miss bacon.)
The next big difference, one could argue that it’s the biggest difference, is the eating schedule. Breakfast is small, which doesn’t bother me. However, I will never become accustomed to cold meat and bread for breakfast. To me, that will always be lunch meat and I don’t think I’ll ever crave a turkey slice on toast with my coffee. I’ll stick to cereal.
In Spain, lunch is usually not until two in the afternoon and it’s typically the largest meal. This is a change I’m already accustomed to. Sometimes I still have to eat a snack around eleven, and I generally treat myself to a chocolate filled pastry and coffee. As you can tell, I’m not exactly sticking to my health plan here, but we’ll just pretend I said I eat apples as snacks and move on.
Dinner is smaller here than in the states, usually. It is also later. Nine or ten is a typical time to eat. As far as what is eaten, it can be anything really. Tapas are really common if going out in the evening. There are many types of tapas, but a lot include variations of bread, potatoes, or ham. They’re always so good. El Tigre is a great place to go with friends for a lot of tapas for a small price.
Here are some of the other Spanish foods that I’m starting to love: gazpacho (cold tomato based soup), bread with every meal, café con leche, churros, croquetas, ham with melon, paella, and the tortilla Española. In fact, I’m probably going to incorporate all of these into my diet in the States. (Let’s hope I learn how to cook by the end of this year.)
I can now say that I love Spanish food, but don’t get me wrong, I’ll be ordering a Spinoccoli pizza and breadsticks with cheese as soon as I get back to Bloomington.