Spanish Traditions In Cooking

Spanish Traditions In Cooking

As with most cultures, traditional Spanish cooking draws influence from its history. When the Greek, Carthaginian, Phoenician, Roman and Moors people settled in the coastal regions of Spain they each brought elements from their own culinary traditions. Culinary offerings today reflect a blend of these things. Each region in Spain has its own food traditions and dialects.

Foods such as the sweet potato and vanilla, the tomato, white potato and chocolate were brought in from other countries. Zucchini, many different kinds of beans, olives, citrus fruit, and every kind of pepper imaginable were taken to Spain from outside the country.

It is customary in Spain today, to include foods with only the freshest, most delectable ingredients. Jamon Serrano, otherwise known as ham cured with hot peppers, is a signature dish. Golden saffron is used extensively; wine, sherry and the most delicious desserts imaginable come from Spanish cultural traditions. However, one of the most important ingredients used in Spanish food is home grown and pressed olive oil, which often takes the place of spices.

Spain sorts a wealth of simply prepared foods that feature rice, eggs, vegetables and beans accompanied by very small morsels called, Tapas, and savory pies. Fish and poultry also play a large role in the Spanish diet. Fresh muscles, clams and scallops are very big on the Spanish menu.

Unlike the traditional American diet, small meals are served throughout the day in Spain. A light breakfast early in the morning will begin the day. This is usually just a cup of coffee with milk and a croissant or churros, a sweet pastry that has been sprinkled with sugar and something dipped in hot cocoa.

A second mid-morning breakfast is served before noon and tapas become the culinary focus as the first food served after noon. A threencourse lunch comes in the middle of the afternoon at around 2:00 through 4:00. This is usually a substantial meal. It is followed by a merienda for pastries and tea or a snack at around 6 p.m.

It is customary to have small dishes of food, or evening tapas, at around 9 p.m. and a three course 10:00 pm dinner. The two main meals of the day are still large regardless of between-meal snacks.

It is also customary to drink plenty of coffee after a meal. This beverage is carefully prepared and is usually taken strong with sugar.

Most Spanish meals are served with wine. In fact, it is commonplace for a restaurant to include the price of a glass of wine in the food prices that are listed on the menu.

Sombresa refers to the art of speaking to one another after a meal. It is customary for Spaniards to remain seated after all the food is gone, to enjoy one others company, and share an after dinner. The conversations that occur at this time can sometimes last for hours, demonstrating the social significance of food, overall, in the culture.

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