Cartas Españolas: Para Llevar

How do you take perfection to-go?

How do you take perfection to-go?

As I mentioned in my first post, these Cartas Españolas are meant to highlight a few aspects of Spanish culture through the mistakes and musings of a hapless guiri.

One particular mistake I've been making has been ingrained in me since longer than I can remember. For the most part, the U.S. food culture prides itself on its efficiency. Whether it be pre-packaged meals, fast food, or the iconic drive-thru—American eating is all about consuming on the go.

Well, that's not the case in Spain. In fact, if you want to get pegged as a foreigner in a hurry, all you have to do is order your bocadillo para llevar (to go). Spaniards take their eating seriously, and with that comes time alotted specifically for the activity. Multi-tasking might be valued in other parts of the world, but here it is almost frowned upon (unless you consider eating and sipping a beer multi-tasking).

In a way that's a funny little aside, but in a way it's also kind of telling. I haven't met a lot of people in Spain yet, but those that I have been able to meet have mostly been over a beer or some tasty munchies. The idea of slowing down, picking up your head, and enjoying a couple bites is refreshing in a world so often lost in the hustle and bustle of eating on the go. I mean, does it really take that much time to sit down and take a couple of (delicious) bites?

Granted, I'm still eating a majority of my food walking out the door, but I'm trying to linger a little longer, and just chew on things for a while.