I have vowed to myself that I will never ever go out for “tapas” in England again, (big big BIG inverted commas right there).
What an insult do chains like Las Iguanas and La Tasca do to this humble and historic appetizer, whose owners have chewed up and chomped on the complete concept of Tapas; spitting it out into bird sized portions of British food.
Granada is the only Spanish province where the true legacy of tapas is honoured and where it´s true value is upheld…because it´s freeeeeee.
The tapas bars in the student areas serve so much food for such a little amounts – hamburgers, calamares, fish, tortillas, croquetas, (which are like potato nugget things) – although such snacks are usually served with a handful of chips on the side or is literally all fried, most probably to make it cheaper and with it increasingly attractive to students.
It isn´t just the tapas, though. Here you can’t get enough olive oil. Salads are drenched, rather than daintily dressed with it and chopped tomatoes are mistakenly concealed in the form of tomate frito, together with nuts and seeds on shop shelves which are all salted and/or fried, stripped of their nutritional value. Add two main popular breakfast choices into the mix – churros and tostada con aceite (toast with olive oil, which the teachers devour during break time) and you get the idea of how most food is cooked.
The tapas, however, together with my choices when supermarket shopping, last week took its toll.
Having been all the more mesmerized by the astronomically low prices of the tapas here, I recently became a victim to some kind of olive oil epidemic.
I became, let’s say, pretty clogged up. A bit like a blocked kitchen sink which has had hot fat poured down it. You know not to do it, but you pour the stuff down it anyway because it´s convenient, maybe diluting it with water to be on the safe side. I´ve found that after living with Miriam, the bottle of oil is there for convenience too, to quickly fry or dress something for extra flavour, before adding a balsamic boost to balance things out.
It was quite bad the other week, though. To the point when I politely asked my coordinator to be excused for the rest of the day, muttering how I needed some sort of pastilla from the pharmacy to clear/empty everything out. I ran out of school and took refuge in a nearby café, where I precariously ordered a green tea before heading straight to the loo, wondering why I was feeling so quepassaaaaiefkjkdsoawkljd.
I won’t go into any more details for fear of losing more much loved fans than I already have.
Anyway, after a much needed Skype session with mum, I realized that my body wasn´t used to this oil enriched diet, and I have since laid off the tapas and tomato frito. (Mums always know the answer…)This led me to reflect, however, about the amount of rather overweight people I have spotted when walking the streets of Motril. With an olive oiled enriched diet, Andalusian lentil stews and the abundance of exotic fruits such as avocadoes and chirimoyas, I expected to see a lot more slimmer people than I have.
I wonder if they’ve heard of the olive oil outbreak. Maybe they’re just all immune to it.