There’s nothing more satisfying than “research” that amounts to eating food. And as the very thorough and dedicated blogger that I am, I wouldn’t dare speak on a topic without having previously logged several hours in the field. So, straight from the trenches, I present the long-awaited part two of the epic mini-series Meals in Spain: Lunch.
They have a word for lunch in Spanish and that word is almuerzo; but in Spain lunch is known simply as la comida, literally the food. And la comida is eaten at mediodía, which is both technically midday due to the position of the sun and literally noon, as in 12:00. However, science be dammed, because in Spain mediodía is 2 o’clock.
Quick tip: if someone in Spain asks you “¿Mañana qué comemos?” they don’t want to know what to eat tomorrow, but what to eat for lunch.
Right, so we’ve established that Spaniards shift time to eat lunch at mediodía, which is not at noon but between two and three o’clock. Lunch is also the most important meal of the day, i.e. heaviest, which is probably why it’s referred to as the food. But on with the show, what do they eat?
Lunch options are pretty limitless so let’s focus on two. One, the menú and two, lunch at casa Hayley + Hubster.
Menú is the workingman’s lunch, a hearty three-course meal to fill you up and get you back to work. The best place for a good menú is any family-style bar (for a rundown of eateries in Spain check out Lauren’s post) and the price will run you anywhere between 7 and 12 euros, depending on location and how fancy a joint you pick.
I happen to live right around the corner from an excellent bar, La Carrera, so let’s check it out.
At La Carrera the menú will run you 8€, but contrary to the photo they have a lot more options than advertised.
Quick tip: Be ready for rapid-fire Spanish when it comes to ordering your courses. Waiters spit out options like they’re toxic, so go knowing things you like and ready to order them quickly.
Here’s the breakdown of our lunches (note: there’s lots of brown and very few veggies, but that’s lunch in Spain, get over it).
Hayley’s lunch: lentejas, lomo al ajillo y natillas de postre: lentil soup to start, pork loin in a garlic sauce (with french fries) and custard for dessert.
Hubster’s lunch: macarones con tomate y atún, san jacobo y mandarina de postre. Macaroni in tomato and tuna sauce, a Saint James: a slice of cheese and meat rolled up and deep-fried and a Clementine for dessert.
But most days we eat at home. Meals at home are generally plato único, just one course, and involve some kind of meat or legume combined with rice or pasta. We tend to cook in large amounts and freeze leftovers to make for easy meals throughout the week. Thus, answering the question what’s for lunch usually involves a quick trip to the freezer. So what have we got in there?
Now let’s play a game. Who cooked what? Hayley comes in with just one point for black bean soup and the Hubster and his mother tie with two points each. The hub: rice and lentils, the suegra: cow tongue and croquetas.
Yes, in Spain it is e-super tipica for Spanish sons and daughters to stockpile frozen specialties from their mommies. I could soapbox on this one, but I’ll just say thanks for the croquetas!
So there you have it, lunch. What do you make of lunch in Spain? What’s in your refrigerator?
And then there’s this.