There are three stereotypes that I want to talk about regarding Spanish meals:
1. Spaniards eat a lot of olive oil.
2. Spaniards eat their lunch and dinner much later than most of the world.
3. Spaniards eat healthier than Americans.
First, I’ll tackle the bit about olive oil. When travel guides suggest that Spaniards eat a lot of olive oil, I recommend that you don’t take that lightly. By that, I mean that yesterday I was served orange slices with onions, salt, and olive oil (not that the olive oil was the necessarily strangest part), and that I’ve been repeatedly served a baguette with peach jam and olive oil for breakfast. Even when you can’t taste the olive oil, it is a safe bet to assume you’re inhaling your fair share at every meal.
Now, for meal times. This part is also true, as for the past two weeks I have been eating almuerzo at 2-3pm and cena between 8:30 and 10pm, depending on when I get home from class. I personally got lucky as I am blessed with relatively large breakfasts, in that mine consist of a toasted baguette with olive oil, tomato, and salami (versus many of my friends who are served a few toast-like crackers with butter) and am somehow able to survive until lunch with a belly full of white bread.
Lastly, the health factor. While I can not make a generalization for the rest of the US and will agree that the US is certainly more saturated with fast food restaurants, I feel like they’re suffering from a vegetable famine. What’s more, there’s a very good chance that each Española is competing to see who can eat the most baguettes each day. There’s also a very good chance that I’m winning that competition.
I will admit though that I was able to eat vegetables the past few days, after Josefina and I straightened out our salad mix-up. When she asked me what I wanted for dinner, I saw lettuce in the fridge and suggested a salad. She was shocked and thought I didn’t like salad because the first day I was here, I hadn’t eaten any and she had paid attention. In reality, I hadn’t noticed the salad until after eating the biggest and best plate of lasagna I had ever had, and had run out of stomach room. Since then, my meals have happily arrived with salads.
P.S. As I write this, Josefina is looking in a cookbook and asking if I like certain types of food.