It’s not that I dislike the taste of the Spanish cuisine… It’s the idea of sharing my main course. Divvying up an entree… it’s ludicrous and frustrating for so many reasons. To start, you never know how much to order. If you’re in a large group, it’s a major pain in the ass… “I want this, She wants that, Jane doesn’t eat shell fish, Sara can’t have soft cheeses because she’s pregnant, etc. etc.” Ugh, once the chaos of ordering is over, you have to worry about not getting enough to eat because the group is “sharing.”
Tapas is the ultimate “look at me, look at you”. Each plate has one morsel left on it and no one wants to be “rude” and take it, but everyone is eyeing it, looking around the room, feeling out the situation – wishing they can just grab it and eat it. Finally, someone says “O I’m so full, (obviously lying) you take it please, we can’t let it go to waste, blah blah blah”. This exchange goes on, back and forth until finally, one person “the lucky winner” gets the tiny piece of chicken on a skewer.
I want to eat and feel comfortable. I want to work my own plate. I want to order a big heavy meal if I’m starving, or eat soft cheese if that’s what I’m craving. The only time I can handle tapas is with 3 people or less. These individuals have to be very good friends. I’ll order extra so we don’t have to worry about “look at me, look at you.” The ordering process still sucks but it’s easier with friends you can be firm with. Of course, I will never suggest going for tapas, this is more of a hypothetical situation.
I understand the concept of antipasto, you chat, pick, there’s no pressure – you know you’ll have a nice main course to follow. The Italians obviously have it right. Anyway, I remember a while back I was obligated to attend a dinner at a tapas restaurant. It was a big group of us, one girl ordered for the table (I hate that too). She didn’t order enough food (so cheap), so afterwards I had to hit up a pizza joint before I hopped on the train. Since that awful experience, if I’m forced to dine tapas style, say for a birthday party, I’ll “pre-eat”. This way, I’m already full and I can just nibble, like the anorexics. Pre-eating alleviates the stress of going out to eat and leaving hungry – I can’t handle food anxiety.
Tapas wasn’t originally a main course foody trend. It was a “snack” served at bars, to prevent people from getting wasted and oddly enough, a method to prevent flies from drinking bar patrons wine. The history is pretty interesting. How it became a trendy entree option is beyond me. Zero tomatoes for tapas in general – total “look at me, look at you.”