L.A.'s Idea of Spanish Food vs. What Spaniards Really Eat
In this rendition of LA Weekly's Venn Food Diagram, we are investigating the increasingly popular Mediterranean Spanish cuisine to compare what Angelinos think make up a Spaniard's diet versus what our flamenco-dancing friends actually eat.
Moral of the story: The recent surge in Spanish food's popularity has lead to a spike in Spanish restaurants around the city. The San Sebastian-influenced menus of José Andrés' The Bazaar, Joe Miller's Bar Pintxo and Josef Centeno's Bäco Mercat -- which, while not technically a Spanish restaurant, probably has Spain at the top of its long list of precursors -- but , as well as the excellent Basque restaurant Ración in Pasadena have made it no longer necessary to plant ourselves in the car for the hour-plus trip to Harbor City's La Española Meats when we get a hankering for good Spanish nosh -- although, we still do it anyways because their food is freakin' delicious. The city's increased interest in consuming Spanish food has certainly translated to a heightened knowledge of the cuisine; however, we have only just begun to skim the surface.
In line with our country's tendency, we've mostly been exposed to the delicacies, not necessarily what Spaniards are eating every day. Trust us, your average abuela isn't regularly whipping up what José Andrés is making at The Bazaar. After much informal research, we are happy to report back our results of what most Spaniards munch on when they aren't looking to slave away over a hot paella pan.
Methodology: All of this highly scientific data was collected through a highly scientific Facebook post. Participants were told they were not allowed to google "what do Spanish people eat" before answering, although you have to allow a margin of error for those sneaks who know we can't track their search history.
Conclusion: While the foods that come to mind when you start craving a Spanish meal are likely paella, chorizo and sangria, the diet of a Spaniard is much more meat and potatoes than we seem to think -- literally. A typical Spanish lunch will likely begin with a potato dish, soup or lentils, followed by a skinny fillet of chicken, beef or fish fried in olive oil. Spanish cuisine goes back to the basics -- and Spaniards do the basics very well.
When it comes to bread, Spain is right there with its carb-loving neighbors, France and Italy: They can't get enough of the stuff. No meal is complete without a breadbasket, and baguette sandwiches with ham or tortilla de patata -- a Spanish omelet typically made of egg and potato -- are a popular snack or portable lunch.
Fruit of all varieties is much more integral part of the Spanish diet than we realize. The flan and churros that we usually order to top off a Spanish meal are more likely replaced by fruit and coffee in a typical Spaniard's home.
As we all know, pork products and alcohol are plentiful in the diets of most Spaniards. Where they put it all in their teeny, tiny European bodies is the big question.
Check out our previous Venn Food Diagram archives.
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