Some Facts About Spanish Food (Part 1)

La Comida Española

1.  Here is some vocabulary related to meals:
el desayuno - the breakfast
el almuerzo - the lunch
la cena - the evening meal
la merienda - the snack
la bebida - the drink
el postre - the dessert
la comida - the food / the meal
¡Buen provecho! - Enjoy your meal!

2.  La paella is one of the most famous traditional dishes of Spain.  La paella  is cooked in a very big frying pan called
la paellera  and traditionally it is cooked outside in the open air.  It is a mixture of rice, meat, seafood and vegetables.
The rice of la paella is yellow because saffron (el azafrán) is added.  El azafrán is a commonly-used spice in Spanish cookery.  It comes from the flower of a crocus.

Above: el azafrán - saffron

3.  La tortilla española is a potato omelette.  In Spanish homes, everyone seems to be very good at tossing the omelette so that it can be cooked on the other side.  
       Spanish cookery  Hay que dar la vuelta a la tortilla.

The omelette is usually quite thick and  round.  It is normally served in triangular slices, rather like a cake.  La tortilla is also used in sandwiches.  This sandwich is called el bocadillo de tortilla espola.

4.  Traditional Spanish desserts are creamy, such as:
el flan - cr
ème caramel
el arroz con leche - rice pudding
las natillas - custard cream
Often these creamy desserts are flavoured with canela (cinnamon).

5.  El chorizo is a traditional pork sausage from Spain.  It contains garlic and the spice pimentón (paprika) giving it an orange/red colour.  El chorizo can be sliced for sandwiches or used in stews, omelette or served on a small plate as a snack called una tapa.

6.  A traditional Spanish ham is el jamón serrano.  This actually means 'mountain ham'. It is expensive and is often eaten on special occasions. 
It can be purchased ready-sliced or you can purchase a full leg of the ham!   It is not cooked.  Instead, it is raw meat that is hung up and left to become dry.
The ham is sliced very thinly and eaten as an appetiser (una tapa) with bread (el pan).

7.  La morcilla is a sausage made from pigs' blood.  It can also contain rice, spices, lard, aniseed, onion, nuts, breadcrumbs, etc.  There are many varieties of la morcilla  in Spain.  Usually, it is sliced and served in sandwiches or as una tapa. There is even a sweet version that is fried and served as a dessert.

8.   El gazpacho is a soup prepared with tomatoes, raw vegetables and bread pieces.  The raw ingredients are all blended together then chilled.  It is served cold. 
In the hot Spanish weather el gazpacho is very cool and refreshing AND it is healthy! 

9.  El calamar  means the squid and it is a popular food in Spain.  It can be prepared by slicing the squid's body and frying the slices.  As the squid's body is hollow, the slices appear like rings.  These rings are called los calamares fritos.  The tentacles can be included on the plate too.

Alternatively, the whole body of the squid can be served on a plate and prepared in various ways.

The squid produces black ink that it shoots from its body when under attack.  This ink is called la tinta de calamar and it is also used in cookery.  Below is a picture of una paella negra - a seafood rice dish that is mixed with squid's ink, making the rice black.

10.  El pescaíto frito means 'fried fish' and it is very popular.  Another way to say it is el pescado frito.
Pieces of fish are left to soak in a marinade of herbs, vinegar and spices.  Hours later, when the flavours have been absorbed, the fish is coated in flour and fried in olive oil (el aceite de oliva).  Finally, the fish is sprinkled with salt.

¡Buen provecho!

Spanish Food Page 2

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