Confused American Attempts to Explain Spanish Food

Julie Miranto
September 19, 2016

Hellllooooooo! I'm back once again.

It's now been about three weeks since I've landed in Spain and I'm finally started to get accustomed to the culture. One of the first things I realized after my arrival was that a lot of the day revolves around meals. I'm certainly not complaining about this (I mean if you know me at all you'll know that I'm a huge foodie). However, although the food excites me, adjusting to eating meals the Spanish way has been very interesting.

Spainiards eat meals a bit differently than we do in America. They eat very small breakfasts (coffee, toast, cereal), a very large lunch, and a smaller (but still decent sized) dinner, and in between all of that is plenty of time for tapas (aka tiny, snack like meals). Not only are the portions kind of switched around but also the time that these meals occured was something I really had to adjust to.

Breakfast for me happens around 8:30am, lunch at 2:00pm. and then dinner at 9:00pm (and if you're getting tapas then that usually happens around11:00am or 7:30pm). At home I'm used to eating around 12:00pm for lunch and 6:00pm for dinner so obviously pushing those times forward a few hours has been quite the learning experience for my stomach (aka I spent a lot of mornings very hungry).

However, now that I've adjusted to the timing of the meals I have absolutely no complaints about the cuisine. I thought I'd take a little bit of time to lay it out for all of you. So here we go......

Café con leche:

The amount of café con leche that I've drank since arriving in this country is probably illegal. I'm pretty much obsessed with it. Now granted, café con leche is essentially just coffee with milk (direct translation actually) but it's still 10x better than coffee in the United States. It always comes nice and foamy in a tiny little cup with a package of sugar to add if you want. It's a lot stronger than American coffee with is why you can drink such a tiny cup of it and still feel energized and satisfied. The quality is genuinely better to the point where you don't need to add a bunch of flavored syrups and whipped cream or buy it Venti sized to feel happy (cough cough Starbucks cough cough). It's also usally costs 1€ or less which is also vey refreshing in comparison to American coffee prices. It's simply perfect just the way it is.

Tortilla de patata (aka tortilla española):

Don't even get me started on tortilla. This stuff is for sure  my favorite thing to eat in Spain. Essentially it's sort of like a Spanish omelet, but you don't eat it for breakfast. Usually you'll have a slice in the early afternoon for tapas or at night for dinner. The name tortilla probably throws most of us Americans off because when we think tortilla we think Mexican food (aka tacos). However, tortilla in Spain is pretty much just egg and potato. It sounds basic enough, but together it tastes so good. Usually you can order it by the slice and eat it with a fork, but my personal favorite way to eat tortilla is on bread with some thinly sliced tomatoes (a homage to the American breakfast sandwhich). I ate the tortilla in the picture above while waiting for my laundry to be done the other day, needless to say it was the perfect way to pass the time (peep the café con leche). Once again it's the simple things that count, and tortilla is one of the best simple things you can eat in Spain. (I've seriously considered eating it everyday.......).


One of the first things I did after arriving to Spain was eat paella. It's a staple Spanish dish (I've probably eaten it about four times or so in my few weeks here). It's a rice based dish that is filled with all different types of meats, mainly seafood but sometimes chicken as well. To be honest I'm pretty lost on most of the ingredients that go into it, all I know is that I love it. The paella that my host mom makes usually has rice, chicken, shrimp, calamari, olives, peppers, and various other things I can't recall at the moment. Essentially paella is a very individualized dish, aka each family has their own favorite recipe. The paella in the picture above was from a restaurant in Madrid. One pan was a mixture of seafood and chicken and the other was a mixture of veggies (shoutout to all those vegetarians out there). You definitely can't come to Spain without eating this classic staple of Spanish cuisine.

Chocolate y churros:

I actually didn't know that there were churros in Spain before I arrived here (I thought they were a Mexican food, whoops). but I sure as hell am happy that they do exist in this country. Chocolate and churros is advertised all over the cafés in Spain. This dish is similar to any churro you've probably eaten in the United States but it's not covered in so much sugar and cinnamon. It tastes more so like funnel cake batter, and when you eat it you dip in into the Spanish version of hot chocolate. This is not like hot chocolate at home. It's super thick and rich and so delicious (honestly I can't imagine actually drinking it by itself because I think I'd die of chocolate overdose). Together they make the perfect dessert or early morning snack/

As you can probably tell, I'm eating well (thinking about joining a gym so I don't start looking like I'm eating too well....).

The foods I've mention in this blog are just a scratch of the surface of what food is like in Spain. There's also arroz con leche, copious amounts of ham and chorizo, toasts (I ate one with goat cheese and carmelized onions and it was amaze), gelato, sooooo much bread, patatas fritas con huevos, napolitanas con chocolate, amongst a billion other things. My family better be ready for me to attempt to recreate all of this for them when I get back to the States. Their lives will never be the same.

With love from Spain,




Before I end this post I wanted to include a few more pictures of foods I've eaten but didn't directly talk about so you can have them for your viewing pleasure. You're welcome.

Julie Miranto

<p>I&rsquo;m a 20 year old student attending Gettysburg College where I study English with a focus on writing and Spanish. I come from a big, close-knit Italian family, am in love with reading and writing, and am always open to new experiences. I hope to be as creative as possible in everything I do and can&#39;t wait to find influence from my semester in Salamanca!</p>

2016 Fall
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