My roommate’s alarm sounds at 7:30 a.m. in preparation for our morning Spanish class. After winding down the tight, wooden staircase in the dim morning light, we prepare ourselves some tostadas con tomate which consist of toasted bread topped with grated tomato and olive oil.
Food, as in all countries, plays a central role in Spanish life and culture. Breakfasts in Spain are usually light, coffee and a form of toast is common. Lunch is typically the heartiest and longest meal of the day and is often accompanied by sobremesa, the practice of lingering at the table after a meal. At my homestay, lunches involve a large salad with granadas (pomegranates) and copious amounts of bread along with a main dish and dessert, either fruit or something sweeter such as arroz con leche. Portion sizes wind back down for dinners that trend to the casual and if eaten out can simply be a couple of tapas, small servings of food that are meant to accompany drinks. Some classic tapas dishes in Granada are croquetas, fried rolls of meat and bechamel sauce; salmorejo, a cold soup made of pureed tomato and bread; and patatas bravas, lightly fried potatoes accompanied with a spicy sauce. While emblematic of Spain, in general, tapas in Granada are unique in that they are included in the price of a drink – something especially appreciated when on a student budget.