Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Knives and forks

It's odd what you stop noticing. Because of her job Maggie talks to lots of people who are new to the area. One of her clients, let's call her Betty, was telling Maggie about an experience in a local restaurant. Betty asked for a red wine to go with her set price meal. She was was pleasantly surprised when the waiter left the bottle on the table. Lots of wine from around here is still not premium product, it's something for drinking, so leaving the bottle with the implicit offer to drink as much of it as you want, is still very common. I wouldn't have noticed.

We went to a couple of posher than our usual style of restaurant last weekend. When I was telling a pal about the restaurants. I described them as "the sort of place where they take your cutlery after each course". I realised that the description presumed a little knowledge of everyday restaurant practice. Nowadays I would never think to leave my knife and fork at attention on the plate when I have finished the first course. I would set them to one side ready for the second course. Our guests from the UK don't and the waiter or waitress has to do it for them.

That was the idea, when I first started the blog, a sort of ooh!, aah!, look how funny that is. Nowadays, when a visiting Briton wants to pay at the bar for the drink as soon as it is served, when visitors find it strange that restaurants are not open midweek in the evening and when they really think that most Spaniards have a bit of a sleep in the afternoon I don't usually say anything.

So many of those things that were strange are now usual and some of the things that were usual are now strange. The strangest thing, for me, is when other long term immigrants still find those things strange after years and years here.


Myriam said...

Hahaha, love it!
I also describe the restaurants that way, "the sort of place where they take ..." But when the waiter put my cultlery on the table I usually say: "Puedes traerme otros cubiertos, por favor?" And they do.
Leaving the bottle of wine on the table is very old-Spanish. My father doesn't find it ok when they bring him just a cup of wine. haha I prefer just the cup. Otherwise, one never knows...

Chris Thompson said...

Yes the thing about whether you get a glass of wine or the whole bottle seems to depend on the style of restaurant. We went to a place called Cien the other weekend, it's a rice restaurant owned by a couple of bodegas and they have wine on tap, a little like the coke and fanta in KFC. Excellent.