Why food is not the most important thing in a Spanish lunch
The Spanish word sobremesa has no correspondences in other languages, although the idea here is quite simple. This is the time you enjoy sitting at the table with friends or family after the meal.
Spain is a country where food is treated with special piety. Here were born and scattered around the world recipes of hundreds of delicious dishes and delicacies – such as tapas, paella, gazpacho, jamon. The fame of the skills of Spanish cooks also spread.
Therefore, it would be quite strange to say that the most important thing in the Spanish meal – not the food. And yet it is so.
However, before you start spooning into your gazpacho, let me explain-Spaniards don’t take food lightly.
As a Spaniard who loves to eat, I will say that the choice of restaurant we usually approach with the same seriousness and care with which some other people choose a car.
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Of course, I will start by finding out if the food is good, but I will also be interested in another important question: is it a cozy place and would it be nice to spend a few hours there.
That’s right – lunch for the Spaniard is not limited to food. It is also a time to socialize with friends or family members, a time to chat and laugh, after which many problems do not look so serious.
If all you need is to fill your stomach, then you’d better eat at home.
The social aspect of food consumption is of great importance for the Spaniard. When you can’t swallow another bite, dinner doesn’t end. Begins ” sobremesa.”
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Lunch for Spaniards is not only delicious food, but also an important time to communicate with friends and family
This word has no correspondences in other languages, it is sometimes translated as dessert, but it is wrong. The idea here is quite simple.
Sobremesa is the time you spend at the table after the meal. And it is almost always accompanied by laughter, jokes and that easy conversation that usually occurs after a delicious and hearty dinner.
“When I see that people are not in a hurry to leave the table after dinner, for me it is a sign of pleasure,” says Dani Carnero, chef of La Cosmopolita restaurant in Malaga, where the most famous chefs of Spain like to go when they are near.
“And often guests enjoy this time more than the food itself. Sobremesa is a magical moment, ” emphasizes Carnero.
In my opinion, avant-garde, experimental cuisine, where each dish is sought to make a work of art, does not contribute to a good sobremes, because too much attention is paid to the food itself.
Sobremesa – this magic moment
When I moved from Zaragoza to Madrid, I met British blogger Ben Curtis, who has been living in Spain for 20 years and talks about Spanish traditions.
We exchanged e-mails for a while, discussing things related to Spanish culture, and then I suggested we finally meet for a beer.
To which he wisely remarked that it would be better to have dinner then. That dinner was such a success that we’ve been dining together at least once a week ever since – for six years now.
And by lunch, I don’t mean a quick sandwich in a diner, but a real Spanish three – course meal with wine, of course.
If you know of any other, better way to strike up a real friendship than long and regular dinners together, I’d like to know it.
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“When people are not in a hurry to leave the table after dinner, it is a sign of satisfaction with the meal,” says chef Dani Carnero
Therefore, I prefer the classic, unpretentious casas de comida, or family restaurants, which prepare delicious home-cooked meals from simple and high-quality ingredients.
My observations show that the tastier the food, the better the food. However, you can feel the pleasure of a meal after a normal dinner, if you spent it in a wonderful company.
There are several rules sobremesa. Most importantly-no one jumps out from the table as soon as dinner is over (except for urgent matters, of course).
You should also stay at the table where you just ate. The afternoon mess – crumpled napkins, sugar packets and leftover dessert on plates-is all part of sobremesa.
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Sobremesa means that the lunch was so wonderful that you don’t want it to come to an end. As soon as you get up from the table, the spell will break.
Warm atmosphere sobremesa often contributes to mental conversations, which in other circumstances is unlikely to happen. “You inspired me…”I’ve been meaning to tell you how important it is to me…”
But it’s also a time of humor, fun. Jokes never sound so witty, as in slightly tipsy companies after tasty lunch.
As soon as you get up from the table, the spell will break
Once you say something at least a little funny-grateful laughter interlocutors guaranteed, even if you just mess something up. Yes, just when you have something mixed up!
My mother, for example, roars with laughter long before she utters the final sentence of the joke. Stories it is not always funny, but the manner of narration every time is a success.
Sobremesa often lasts as long as the dinner itself, and sometimes even longer.
I was born in the South of Spain, where a very hot summer provokes cases of truly epic duration sobremesa. Going outside seems crazy, much better to stay cool inside.
Among our family legends is the story of how my dad once had lunch with a friend, and sobremesa lasted so long that they got hungry again and ordered dinner.
I’ve never had such a double dinner before, but I really hope to have one someday.
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“Sobremesa often brings even more fun than the food itself,” – said Dani Carnero
Of course, a meal from morning to evening is not an everyday phenomenon. Prolonged sobremesa usually occurs after a birthday celebration or an anniversary, as well as during Sunday lunch with the family.
But on a working day, many Spaniards find time for a leisurely lunch, after which no one immediately runs on business.
Although sobremesa can complete and dinner, traditionally, she is accompanied by lunch.
Why so? It is unlikely that the Spaniards are guided by the rule that a hearty lunch is healthier than a hearty dinner. It’s just that lunch is always more fun.
I love sumptuous meals so much that when I don’t have time for them, I just enjoy watching them from others.
When I’m in a hurry to go somewhere on business, I can see through the restaurant window four respectable seniors gossiping and laughing while a waiter in a bow tie puts decaffeinated coffee in front of them.
And on holidays you can see a company of 15-20 people who order not the first round of gin and tonic, singing songs-in General, so have fun that looking at them, it is impossible to keep a smile.
Children also like sobremesa because parents in these moments is so busy is that not too much concerned about education of their children.
Sometimes it seems that the meal for the Spaniards-just an excuse to gather at sobremesa.
I must say, this is a great occasion, because the food in Spain is almost always great, so it can be considered as an additional bonus to the magical moments of the afternoon table conversation.