Sunday, September 8, 2013

First Impressions: Spanish Food

Here in Spain, mealtimes are a big deal. They have appetizers (tapas) that are always served. You ordered a soda? Let me bring you something to snack on with that! Then, they have the main dish. It's almost always followed by postre (dessert!). At a family dinner, they ordered like 10 different things that we all ate bits of. That said, I have tried so much food in the past week. My reactions ranged from "Ok, Kirt, don't spit this in someone's face" to "Wow! I've missed this for over 20 years?!"

Let's start with the worst: Gazpacho. This is a cold soup. Some people drink it like V8. It's basically blended veggies and spices. It took all my willpower not to gag on this. It was terrible to me. Granted, I don't like raw tomatoes-- the main ingredient.

Gazpacho. Popular in Spain. I'll never touch it again. Ever.

I also tried a carrot-y version of this. Still WAY too much tomato for me. No me gusta nada!

Next on the list of things I didn't like: octopus. Yep. I tried octopus this week. Earlier tonight, actually. They served it sprinkled with paprika over potatoes. The potatoes were pretty good. Octopus, not so much. They also served some sort of tomato sauce over potatoes. They were okay at best. Again, tomatoes... 

Octopus is on the bottom. The potatoes in the sauce look spicy, and they said they were. In reality, there was no heat to those other than the temperature.

The most common thing I've seen here is olives. Green olives. Green olives with paprika. Green olives stuffed with anchovies. Green olives stuffed with pickles. Yep. ALL kinds of green olives. I don't really care for them. 

The kids here LOVE these. I don't.

FUN FACT TIME! Did you know that mayonnaise is originally Spanish? My host dad made some the other day. It's not bad, actually. It just tastes like olive oil, really. I couldn't get over the fact that it was mayo, so I declined more than a taste. 

More food! They eat a lot of calamari here (squid). I don't mind it in little pieces, but they eat it in huge rings. It's also very popular to eat on a sandwich.  


Oh, mercy. I tried pig ear tonight. It was strange. We give that to dogs back home. It tasted like really greasy/fatty bacon. It was okay, I suppose. Here's what it looked like:

Oreja, yes, ear of pig. 

Also worth noting, they eat a LOT of fish here. I've had tuna almost once a day in some form or fashion. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. My host family put it on pizza. No me gusta!

I also tried some type of pork that consisted of skin, a bit of fat, and some meat. It was a tapa, and it wasn't too bad. It smelled and tasted like bacon. The texture was strange: crunchy and then soft and chewy. 

Pig skin chunks, essentially

I love shrimp! Unless you put something nasty on it, it's hard to ruin it. I liked the shrimp here. The only thing is that they leave the heads on.

Apologies for the blurred image!

One of my favorite things here is tortilla espaƱola. It's like a potato and egg omelette. It's incredible. You can get it just about anywhere, and it's super cheap!

This is the tortilla we had at the party. It's normally made in a round skillet and shaped like cornbread out of an iron skillet.

We ate dinner with my host dad's family tonight. The final dish that was brought out was steak over fries. They made a mean steak! It was medium/medium rare and spiced well. 

Like a taste of America!!

Another Spanish thing that reminded me of home:

Their version of Bugles!

Spanish candies:

Sour fizz tabs. I didn't care much for these. 

Candy bowl at the party

The top candy was just like Smarties. The bottom were like a sad version of Nerds. I immediately wished I had some of the real deal. Consequently, my parents are sending me some this week (thanks!!!)

Spanish drinks:

This is my go-to drink order here. It's not quite like diet Coke, but it'll do for now. 

Mojito! They like their drinks strong. This was quite tasty despite being very strong.

Coffee liquor that they insisted I try. After I drank one, they insisted I drink another. It was verrrry strong. I politely declined.

I'm not sure what this was. It didn't have alcohol. It tasted like a green apple jolly rancher. Super tasty! I could have had an entire glass of this (I just had a shot glass full).

If you were looking for a beer or wine review, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. I don't care for either. I'm in the land of cheap bear and wine, but I'm not really a fan. Sorry!

Sangrias are strong. I'm not sure how I feel about them. 
I don't really care for Spanish ham.
I've only tried one paella. It was tasty.

I feel like I've only grazed the surface of what I've had this week, but that covers the major points. 

Oh! I also had this at one point: 

My school director took me out to an American lunch. Bless her!! And, yes, I Instagrammed McDonald's!

That's all for now, friends! I have a week off before I start at the schools. I plan to rest, swim, shop, and explore. 

I still can't believe I ate octopus and pig ear today... phew

Goodnight, sweet friends!


...but you can call me brave! -Kirt ♥

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