I’m going to go ahead and assume that we all absolutely love the weekend (Friday included). It’s where we got “TGIF”, and “Cheers to the Freaking Weekend!”, which are both phrases I hear every time a Friday rolls around. Another phrase that could be tacked on, usually said around lunch time on any given Friday, is… “Should we have a drink yet?”
There’s an activity that each and every one of us takes part in during the weekend. This activity, wether it be bike riding, doing the puzzles in the paper, taking care of your vegetable garden which I’m so jealous you have, or going out until the wee hours of the night because the day after is safe for a hangover, makes it feel like it is indeed a weekend. For me, very predictably, it’s going out to eat during the day. I’m talking breakfast, brunch, or lunch or all of the above. I want to walk there, I want to have a coffee, I want to sit and have a great conversation for as long as my butt lets me. I absolutely love it. Hence, this very informational and important blog.
When in Spain though, I realized I really need to step up my weekend game. They don’t use the weekend to just go out for a meal, they know it’s the weekend because that’s when they eat before they really eat! Let me explain… it’s called aperitivos. It’s the light meal Spaniards eat before their principal meal to open up their appetite. I know, I know it sounds like no big deal, every menu has an appetizers section. This is different. Usually they’ll go to a bar to have aperitivos with some wine and beer before returning home to have the principal meal with more wine and beer. And while aperitivos are always in the form of shareable plates, it’s certainly enough food to feel like you have already eaten a meal.
With my sister’s host family we had two rounds of patatas bravas, boquerones fritas, berenjena empanizada at their usual bar before going back to their house and having appetizers of jamon iberico and gambas (shrimp) and a main meal of my sister’s world famous (you can say that about anything, right?) and ice creams for dessert.
While in my food coma* I thought that surely this does not happen every single weekend… it can’t. So I asked my sister’s host mom if this was a special occasion because we were visiting. She quickly laughed and replied, “No way”. Making it clear to me that we’re not that special. It’s all about tradition. Then she added, “How else would we know it’s the weekend”.
*My food coma lasted all the way through until the night when we went to see, “Ay, Carmela The Muscial.” I blame a combination of jetlag and the aperitivos for my falling asleep in the beginning, but if you speak spanish, are into musicals and are in Madrid go see it!