Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spain: Tapas (Revision)

Spain is an incredible country with an incredible cuisine. The most popular dishes to eat in Spain are called "Tapas," which happen to be mostly finger food that is served in small portions. Tapas have become popular to eat in the U.S. because they are very healthy, easy to eat, and presented in a beautiful way.

When learning about the history of tapas one can find that it goes all the way back to medieval times when farmers had a piece of cheese and wine before taking a nap. The tradition of eating small bites of food throughout the day is also connected to the Spanish king Alfonso the 10th.

Now, you may be wondering what kind of food actually goes into a tapas. One popular tapas that everyone eats in Spain is called jamon y queso. This translates into ham and cheese. It is nothing like ham and cheese in the U.S. though. In Spain the Ham has been dried and salted for months. An accurate display of this particular tapas to the top right.

A tapas that is commonly eaten in the South of Spain is Bacalao. Bacalao is salted cod fish that is usually thinly slices and served with tomatoes and bread. An example of this tapas is found below.

Another popular choice is Rajo, which is pork seasoned with garlic and parsley.
Tapas have become popular in the U.S. because they are very healthy. Americans are used to eating such large portions, but tapas are small, containing protein, which usually helps people feel full during the day.

Penelope Casas, author of the book "The Little Dishes of Spain," has been opening up the eyes of Americans to the world of tapas since 1985, and since then "tapas" have been written about by many major publications, including TIME Magazine.

Tapas were proclaimed the "hot new trend of the eighties," but have gotten even more and more attention over the years. The health benefits of eating small portions of food throughout the day includes a faster metabolism and a higher energy level, according to FITNESS Magazine, which is helpful for people trying to stay fit.

Another trend that tapas have influenced on Americans is eating from smaller plates. Doctors say that there are a lot of health benefits to that. But besides being healthy Americans are also attracted to small things.

Timothy S. Harlan, an MD who is known by the popular name "Dr. Gourmet," comments, "little things are sexy: Mini Coopers, the iPod mini, tiny cell phones. Food is no different. There's something so fun about an appetizer arranged perfectly on a plate like a piece of artwork."

Tapas are delicious, healthy, and fun to eat. Of course the best place to have a true tapas would be in Spain, but until then look around your locale neighborhood and perhaps the trend has made it to your area!

[Images: Jamon y Queso]
Bacalao Photo
Courtesy of Google Images

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