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.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Who ate all the pies?

It's been a funny old day. I was expecting music in the streets and a bit of exploration near Caravaca de la Cruz in Murcia but the weather has been terrible and I've hardly strayed from the kitchen and living room.

My food intake has been a bit odd too. Maggie made an apple pie which I was very happy to help her eat but that was a while ago. I just decided to have a packet of Knorr soup - Thai soup. Whilst I was waiting for it to thicken up I had some peanut butter on bread. My total committent to a healthy, fat and sugar free, diet is almost complete.

Spanish people occasionally ask me whether I eat British or Spanish. I suppose I tend to eat British unless I go out but, then again, most of the stuff I eat is probably without nationality. I don't do a lot of rice with rabbit and snails or faseguras but neither do I do a lot of roast beef with Yorkshires or steak and kidney pie. Spaghetti with mushrooms, bacon and onions in a yoghurt and balsamic vinegar sauce is Italian, British, Spanish or just a quick and tasty lunch?

I made, and burned, lentejas on Friday. Lentejas, lentils, is pretty damned Spanish but I think I used an Oxo cube in the broth which I presume was from a British source. Actually it's quite hard to give a specific passport to lots of food. I just looked at the Tomato Ketchup and the Lea and Perrins to see if the labels were in Spanish or English. They are in English but both are dead common and I'm sure I've seen them both with Spanish labels. I've even seen Worcestershire sauce labelled as Salsa Inglesa. The Lucky Jim peanut butter says it is American Quality but it was made in Germany and the label is in Spanish. The peanut butter we have on hand is called Lucky Nuts and is Spanish made with a bilingual Spanish/English label. We have lots of things, in the cupboard, that came from a very ordinary Spanish source but are obviously aimed at we Brits or, maybe not. I mean, after all, Mercadona sells Tetley tea in all of their supermarkets whether there are Britons nearby or not. We have marmalade in the fridge - the Mercadona own brand named in Spanish is in front of the Baxter's one named in Scottish. Other stuff is as Spanish as something very Spanish but it works for us - until very recently Fontaneda Digestive biscuits had the word McVitie's baked into them - same biscuit, different name on the box. And, of course, there is the Spanish stuff that most of us never even think of buying like sobrasada (raw, cured, spicy sausage) or membrillo (quince jelly).

At Christmas, for the language exchange party, my "bring British" contribution was Branston, Walker's cheese and onion, pork pies and brown sauce. The crisps and Branston were bought from the food store in the British bar Refugio but the brown sauce and pork pies came from a local Spanish chain supermarket. The majority Spanish opinion was that Branston tasted of vinegar and sugar, brown sauce was too spicy, pork pies were fatty and tasteless. All in all not a big hit. The Spaniards generally thought the crisps were a bit chemically too but that didn't stop them polishing the lot off. Most of the stuff, crisps aside, came home with me.

And I ate all the pies.


Myriam said...

My favorite potato chips are Salt&Vinegar. Someone told me that flavor is very British. The older members of my family don't like it. The younger, love it.
I think Fish&Chips (that I've never tried yet) has that flavor too, hasn't it?.

Chris Thompson said...

There is a difference here. The things that come in packets, like Lays, are crisps to us. The things that you buy at McDonald's are chips. The US terminology of chips (Lays) and fries (McD) is much more common in Spain.

In the UK the chips are flavoured with salt and vinegar and the chips are potato so it isn't surprising that they taste a Lot like salt and vinegar crisps.