Life from an outsider's perspective…

Spanish food and eating customs:

How to eat Spanish food; Spanish eating customs.– A typical Spanish breaksfast consists of an expresso coffee … and that’s often all there is to it.

– The main meal is usually served between 1:00 and 2:00pm in the afternoon. This is sometimes accompanied by a first course consisting of soup. Three course lunches are the norm for the all-important weekend family get-together.

– Parsely is the mother of all herbs in Spanish cooking. I’m willing to bet that more parsely is consumed in Spain than all other [cooking] herbs combined.

– Spanish rarely eat outside their homes (or at least here in the Canary Islands). The proper place to eat is in the kitchen, while the dining room is sometimes just left for show.

– For some unknown reason, if you’re sharing a plate of food, especially tapas, the fork is left resting perpendicularly on the edge of the plate, with the pointy side curving down. Don’t ask me to explain this strange custom.

– Coffee is served after the dessert. If you request the coffee and the dessert at the same time with the intention of enjoying them together, you’ll look like a weirdo.

– The time for the Spanish siesta is after the main meal. In case you were wondering about the odd business hours, all you have to remember is that most retail shops close during these same hours (1 – 4 pm); bars on the other hand will always remain open during lunch time, while some smaller bars will close during the late afternoon (4 – 7 pm) and reopen again in the evening.

Bread could have a section all of its own: 

– Bread will ALWAYS be supplied with authentic Spanish meals – no exceptions.

– When eating at home in Spain, bread is not usually cut with a knife. Instead, you’re supposed to rip it open with your hands.

– Bread is also a utensil. At home, Canarians regularly substitute the knife for a piece of bread. Think: “bread, fork, spoon” not “knife, fork, spoon”

– Here in the Canary Islands, it is must be sign of bad luck or something to eat the middle part of a bread roll. Local people will hollow out the bread roll and through the dough in the bin! In my Australian family, that is practically sacrilegious!

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