The History of Tapas
|The Tapa so as to be meaningful, has to be eaten between main meals as food that allows the body to survive until|
lunch or dinnertime.
The story of the tapa we should consider the theory that the tapa first appeared because of the need of farmers and workers of other unions to take a small amount of food during their working time, which allowed them to carry on working until time for the main meal.
Wine was the natural accompaniment to this snack, as it induced a mellow mood and increased strength, while in winter it warmed the body as protection against very cold days in the fields and in the workshops of the Middle Ages. In summer, the drink taken in the South was “gazpacho” (cold tomato soup), instead of wine, which increased body heat rather than providing the necessary cold refreshment.
The traditional drink with the tapa is wine, either “peleón” (young and cheap) or “reserve” wine (matured in oak-barrels) of each region.
Tapas recipes vary according to the taste and gastronomic traditions of each region. But the tapas most often served are usually those including the many variety of olives, dry nuts, as well as many kinds of cold cuts.
The many varieties of olives – green, Manzanilla, machacadas (crushed), gordales (big), rellenas (stuffed), aliñadas (flavoured) or deshuesadas (stoneless) – are in themselves the subject of a book. Together with the olives, slices of garlic or smoked-ham sausages, slices of cheese or jamón curado, became famous worldwide.
Among others, there are fried tapas and tapas prepared with sauces. Sometime in the past, the fried tapas had more success and are more in demand than the ones prepared with sauces, apart from some small exceptions. “Boquerones”(whitebait), calamaries, sausages, fritters, croquets, potato and “torreznos”, belong to the world of fried tapas. Casserole stews as well as the Madrilenian “callos”, the Almagro’s aubergines or flavored string beans belong to the tapas prepared with sauces. Finally, animal and agricultural-based recipes such as potato tortilla, cod fritters, croquets and escabeches, remain obligatory at this time of the day so that, if accompanied by a salad, they could perfectly replace a complete lunch.
Today, alongside with these traditional snacks, many new ones appeared, some of which were only meant to be served on an elegantly laid table.
Tapas can be eaten at lunch or dinner if the quantity or variety of tapas is enough to satisfy the appetite. But without any doubt, the most singular aspect of the “tapeo” (the art of eating tapas) is its ability to bring together people from all walks of life who gather round the table to enjoy this informal ritual together.
Despite the elegance of the tapeo and its aesthetic ritual, there is a measure of indifference to both table and seating arrangements and even to the food itself, which, although delicate and tasty, is eaten standing up an in such small quantities, that people refer to this action as pecking at the food, bird-like (“picar”) instead of “eating” (comer). At the time of tapeo conversation plays an integral part of the tapeo ritual. The art of eating standing up has become almost sacrosanct. The tapas are a very characteristic part of the Spanish cooking tradition that seem unlikely to be exported to other cultures, but have now become popular throughout the world.
Jamó1n y Chorizo
Spanish ham and chorizo are two favorite ingredients in Spanish cooking.
Both Spanish ham and chorizo sausage can stand on
their own as tapas, as well.