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Martes, 4 Enero, 2022. The customs of the country...

After many months working at home last year, the Husband was eventually called back into the office around the middle of 2021. Needless to say, we weren't keen on the return. There really wasn't any reason for him to to be there as his job doesn't require face-to-face interaction, and we have reaped a small windfall in time and savings from him not having to commute.

Well, Covid's omicron variant has interrupted his office time once again, at least for right now, or perhaps for the duration of his time before he retires. So yay, we are back to saving time, money and stress by not commuting.

I'm also happy because now I can continue my effort to migrate our household to the Spanish way of doing things, specifically meals, even before we get there.

Many diners in the U.S. who enjoy the Spanish "small plates" or tapas, don't realize these exist to enable a very Spanish institution - the very light, or small, evening meal. Whereas in the U.S. the day's largest and most involved meals are evening dinners, in Spain these are usually the midday meal, very often served around 2:00 PM. Dinners in Spain are very light and small, almost afterthoughts really, and hence tapas.

The midday meals, called la comida, or the meal, often consist of a salad course, a soup or pasta course, a main course and then a dessert course. They also often include wine as the beverage, though they could also serve beer or hard cider. (Spain has a spirits industry, but, so far, I have found most Spaniards prefer beer, wine or cider over cocktails.)

One example of a comida dish might be the traditional chicken and rabbit paella (pictured above) that my sister and prepared for our family's Christmas dinner this year. Delicious, but definitely not a small plate or a meal best suited to an evening.

From a health perspective these meal conventions make a lot of sense. They load the larger amounts of calories earlier in the day, when there remains a good deal of activity still to do in the day, and they reserve a smaller number of calories for just before sleep. As both the Husband and I are on a perpetual quest for healthier habits, we have long wanted our household to adopt these approaches meals and so I am trying it out.

Where I have found there is more to it than you might think. First, the adult responsible for creating the meals (me) has to make allowances in his mid-morning work schedule to cover the time spent preparing the food. Second, I don't have a large number of tapas or small plate recipes. Cooking for one or two is already a bit of a challenge, cooking even less for two is a somewhat bigger challenge. Will keep you posted as to success or failure.

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