I was born and raised in Spain, and it’s far more than just living la vida loca. Realistically, the Ricky Martin classic undermines the constant entertainment that occurs on a daily basis in a house full of obnoxious Spaniards.
Having moved to Toronto, Canada when I was five years old (what were my parents thinking?), my family refused to lose our sense of Spanish culture. We kept our traditions, especially when it came to dining. Let me tell you, despite being in a different country, it doesn’t get more authentic than this… tapas on tapas on tapas.
The Spanish dining experience goes far beyond the food. After a long busy week, everyone comes together to sit at a table (usually on a Sunday — “family day,” in my household) and reunite.
The Pre-Tapas Fiesta
If we can say anything with certainty, it’s that Spaniards are 100 percent NOT lazy. When it comes to preparing any meal, it involves a fiesta.
And Spaniards don’t just cook for themselves — we are not that selfish. We invite our family and then cousins, uncles, second cousins girlfriends, our aunt’s new boyfriend and his kids, his kid’s friend who practically is a part of the family… you get the point. Whether you’re cooking for four or 23, it’s always a process that starts at dawn.
The excitement does not last forever and the stress builds up pretty quickly (or should I say, rapidamente). You know us Spaniards, so passionate and emotional that we start getting anxiety in the kitchen from all the sh*t we actually realize we have to do. I would recommend staying away… as far as possible.
The Tapas Fiesta
Hours and hours in the kitchen later, the food is prepared, you’re stress-free and the fiesta begins with tapas. All Spanish food may as well be tapas. Who doesn’t love a good Sunday dinner with countless tapas to choose from?
If you don’t know what fuet is, this dry-cured meat will change your life and should really be the reason to convince you to go to Spain.
Spanish olives and queso fresco accompanied with a fresh loaf of bread and olive oil from the Mediterranean coast are just a few examples of what you’ll be offered in a Spanish household… and that’s the “diet” version.
Lots of Vino
Let’s not forget the most important component of Spanish dinner (or else you’re practically disowned) — Spanish red wine. Spain has wine-aging laws that require wineries to age their product for a minimum of two years. So if you want to know the difference between a good wine bottle and a not-so-good wine bottle, dine at a Spaniard’s house.
The Post-Tapas Fiesta
After indulging in all the endless tapas and glasses of wine as if you had been fasting for weeks, reality kicks in and you start getting overly emotional (as the Spaniard you are) about how many calories you just consumed.
The Muffin Top
You regret putting on your chic Zara outfit for all your family members and wish you had put on your fat pants instead. Now you find yourself making excuses for your more-than-obvious food baby because, as the productive Spanish woman you are, you cannot be seen lounging in a food coma.
Don’t fret though, Spaniards always find an excuse to dance (especially after a third bottle of Rioja) at any moment of the day and after dinner is one of them. Not only is it a grand time dancing with all your family members, realizing that your mom is actually hot as AF when she brings out the flamenco, but you burn a lot more calories than you think. No ragrets (dancing or not, ’cause the food is that good anyway).