An Andalusian Breakfast
Spanish food is straight up delicious. And we Bussins love our food. So three of the things we were looking forward to on our family trip to Spain last month were breakfasts, lunches and dinners. For our 10 day trip, only 5 lunches and 5 dinners were pre-booked, which by our usual planning standards was throwing caution to the wind.
Highlights included lunch at a hotel overlooking a fishing village after a three hour hike on the Costa Brava coast. Our tapas crawl through the Gothic and Raval neighbourhoods of Barcelona was really a drinking tour (vermouth, then white wine, then beer, then red wine, then cider, and then cava...and nobody vomited!). I was goaded into eating snails (which were in season) after our bike tour of Seville...and honestly they were really good. The owner of the picturesque Martinez graciously remade some delicious paella for us after some allergy-issue-language-barrier-miscommunication.
There were a few lowlights too. A waiter in a famous restaurant in Barcelona insisted that ¼ lamb was not enough food and we should order two (which turned out to be pure upsell devilry). Naomi and Sarah tapped out early, as lamb isn’t their thing. Jack ate his fair share. Which essentially left Bram and me to eat half an animal...because it became a matter of honour to finish it. Also, on night number seven we decided that six straight nights of traditional tapas was enough. Bram and I ordered burritos described as “Iberian secrecy”. I think that the secret was that the restaurant (for very good reason) did not disclose that their burritos consisted only of pork and cheese with an Asian plum dipping sauce.
We all love tapas and we ate plenty of it. But we struggled to eat our fruit and vegetables. The Spanish, it seems, aren’t keen on salads and think of vegetables mostly as garnish. Honestly, it was surprising. Because there were five of us, we chose to stay in apartments as opposed to hotels, so we usually made our own breakfasts - and we could could control the nutrition (ie. fresh fruit).
But one morning we ate a typical “Andalusian Breakfast” as part of our day excursion to Cordoba. It consisted of a large toasted white bun, on which was spread tomato puree (you eat tomato bread a lot in Spain….a lot) with finely chopped ham (a lot of ham too) and olive oil. And those who didn’t have the ham, tomato and oil on their bun could have a pork pate that looked to be 95% fat. I watched in bemused fascination as Naomi ate all of the former (not the latter - that was a bridge too far), a breakfast in which she consumed in one sitting more pork fat than she has eaten in her entire adult life. Despite the carb and meat-heavy Spanish diet none of the locals seemed particularly overweight or unhealthy. Also with all our walking, hiking and biking, four out of five of us (and trust me the outlier is greatly miffed by this) lost weight on the trip.
My guess is that four out of five of you will really enjoy this issue of Tonic. Be sure to read all about OmT.O 2018 (p. 22). Check out Claire LeGresley’s last regular natural nutrition article for Tonic (she’s leaving us for the west coast, and we’ll miss her, (p 38) and Joel Thuna and Claude Gallant’s article on Atherosclerosis (p. 28). As always, if you want some restaurant recommendations for Spain or you’d like to comment on this note or anything else you’ve read in this issue of Tonic, feel free to contact me.