Food and Drink: Daily Meals
The typical first meal of the day, el desayuno, is a cup of coffee and, occasionally, a pastry. Cinnamon churros (or porras) with a mug of hot chocolate is a common breakfast indulgence.
La comida, which means “food” in Spanish, is the main meal of the day, and is typically eaten between 2 and 4 pm. Many Spaniards return home for lunch, a large meal that consists of multiple courses, such as soup or a pasta dish, a salad, a meat entrée, and finally a light dessert of fruit or cheese. Lunch is also served in restaurants, which offer a wide selection of dishes. Although the meal is usually followed by a cup of coffee, Spaniards regularly take the time after lunch to relax, including taking an afternoon siesta—although some commuters have to use this time to make their way back to work.
The workday can last until 8pm, at which point many Spaniards have a merienda (light meal). Meeting friends at bars to enjoy a selection of tapas between meals is exceedingly common. Tapas are meant to be eaten during conversation— dishes are bite-sized and can generally be eaten with the hands. Groups will often travel from bar to bar grazing on favorite tapas at each site.
The last meal of the day, la cena, can start as early as 9pm, but during the summer it is common to sit down to eat at midnight. Spaniards often eat the same foods at dinner as at lunch, but in smaller proportions.
Article written for World Trade Press by Christine Kiilerich.
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