To Eat: Tapas

Tapas: small-plate dining

I think tapas are brilliant, and whoever began the tradition of eating tapas instead of one-item meals should be knighted. I haven’t been able to enjoy tapas in Spain yet, but it is on the top of my to-do list. As a Spanish major and food-addict, I have all the qualifications, but– alas!– not the funds.

Here are my top three reasons all meals should be eaten tapas-style.

1) Variety. When ordering tapas, you typically order several plates for yourself. The last time I went out for tapas, it was encouraged to order 2 to 3 plates per person. Tapas plates included dips and spreads, soup and salads, cold tapas, hot tapas, kabobs and skewers, cocas and desserts. Oh, and of course, a very extensive vino list.

2) Conversation. It takes a while to eat a full meal of tapas. Plates are served only a few at a time, so essentially there are a few courses. Because there are so many plates and because it takes a while for all of them to be served, there is more conversation, both about the food and to last the whole meal. You can’t rush through tapas.

3) The food. Obviously. I love Mediterranean food, probably more than any other kind of cuisine. This includes Italian, Greek, Turkish, Spanish, etc. I love the spices and the unique uses of food. American cuisine can be a bit straightforward. Some favorite tapas of mine are albondigas (meatballs), calamares (squid), any kind of papas (potatoes), and anything with alioli as a sauce.

On another note, in Spain, typically one eats tapas after work and before dinner, which is usually served between 9 to 11 at night. Which I think is ingenuous. In another post, I will tell you why I think European countries own scheduling.

I’m hitting up a local tapas place tonight for a small celebration. I’m so excited. Where have you eaten tapas? What’s your favorite kind?

One comment

  1. This topic makes me happy and hungry. I spent some time in Madrid, and after-class tapas and beer were crucial if we were to survive until dinner time. And they were delicious.

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