My children are still visiting the market this week. They are learning more fruit and vegetable names and practicing their counting. Since one of the exercises involved pretend play of counting eggs, my 3 year old suggested we use some leftover plastic Easter eggs. Perfect. When it came time to review “patata”, which is of course, Spanish for “potato”, it reminded me of a silly American song. It makes light of people’s insignificant differences such as how some Americans pronounce potato as “po-tay-to” while others pronounce it as “po-tah-to”.Well, apparently, it can also be pronounced as patata. We could make quite the silly word game out of all these variations. “Una, dos, tres patatas”
Next week will conclude our visit to the market. It has been a fun shopping trip.
Week 22 of our 40 week journey finds us still visiting the market, with its yummy fruits and vegetables. Through role-playing a Dino and Lupi sketch, we were able to review some of our food names, such as “Manzana” and “Naranja” … as well as our manners (Gracias) and conversation style speaking, like “Look” (Mira) and “Here you are” (Toma). I enjoy learning little differences between the Spanish and English language. For example, when Lupi hands Dino an apple, she says “Here you are” (Toma), whereas I would say “Here you go”. You may remember last week how we had to get used to saying “an apple green”, instead of our usual “a green apple”.
“Un tomate rojo”
We also watched a short video clip of Joe and Maggie shopping for ingredients and then returning home to make a delicious looking omellete. As well as being able to review more food names, I liked catching a glimpse of a different lifestyle, with the subtle differences between the Spanish market and kitchen, versus the American market and kitchen.
Speekee isn’t only an introduction into the Spanish language; it is also an introduction into the Spanish culture and lifestyle.
Being the cheeky chappie that he is, yesterday evening my son Joe was walking through Arcos de la Frontera blowing his football horn and telling all the locals that he wanted Croatia to beat Spain. Somehow, he got out of there alive (-;
It’s not that he is anti Spain; more that he is aware just how well the current Spanish team can play the beautiful game of football. And it is fair to say that the adjective ‘beautiful’ is suitable when describing the football of this current crop of Spanish players.
They may not go on to win Euro 2012, but if they don’t we can at least say we have had the pleasure of witnessing a golden generation of Spanish footballing talent. Here in Europe, the names Casillas, Xavi and Iniesta just trip off the old tongue these days!
Image from eleconomista.es
For those of you unfamiliar with the world’s most popular sport (so easy to play, you just need a ball!) I’ll have you know that Spain has for so long been called the ‘underachiever’ in world football. Indeed, until Euro 2008 they had gone longer than England without winning a major tournament.
Longer than England?? Yes, the country of my birth won the World Cup in 1966… and nothing since.
Which brings me back to the cheeky chappie. As I say, he’s not anti Spanish (just as well; he lives in Spain). No, the reason he didn’t want Spain to beat Croatia is because his allegiance lies with England. Depending on tonight’s results England could be playing Spain in the quarter finals of Euro 2012. And knowing how good Spain are, the little lad wants England to avoid them for an easier path to the final!
Week 21 finds us at the market or el mercado, if you speak Spanish. This week focused on counting, colors, and fruits. This was a good time to review our counting and our colors, while also learning the names of fruits. My 10 year old did a worksheet to remind her of the correct format. It seems strange for us to write the subject before the adjective. For example, in English we would say “a green apple” but in Spanish, it would be “an apple green”. I then drilled her on her counting, colors, and fruits. We came up with some crazy concoctions for her to translate. Has anyone seen “a pink banana”? How about “four blue oranges.”
The UK’s Education Secretary, Michael Gove, is set to announce plans to make foreign languages compulsory from age seven, according to reports from the BBC and Telegraph. I feel as though I have been here before (in 2007 perhaps?), but never-the-less this seems like good news.
Wow! This week I experienced the most amazing tapas.
There are several theories about how tapas, which are basically bar snacks, came into being. ‘Tapa’ literally means ‘cover’ or ‘lid’, and a popular explanation is that a lid was once put on top of drinks to keep off the flies. Over time it became the custom to place little snacks on top of the lids. Another theory says that a waiter to King Alfonso XII covered his glass of sherry with a slice of ham to protect it from sand blowing off the beach. So impressed was the king that he asked for his second sherry to come with the same ‘tapa’.
Whatever their true origin, tapas certainly caught on in a big way! Served mainly in Andalusia (in the south of Spain), tapas are either free with a drinks order, or they are charged for separately. They come hot or cold and are typically displayed on the bar counter.
Much of Speekee was filmed in the Andalusian town of Arcos de la Frontera, where an annual Ruta de la Tapa, or Tapas Route, takes place. It’s an opportunity for the local bars to display their culinary skills by creating their own special tapa, served alongside a glass of wine. Locals and visitors to Arcos de la Frontera are given a reference card showing a map of the tapas route and a list of the tapas in each bar. They can then have their card stamped at each bar they visit. If they fill the card with stamps from each and every one of the bars they can claim a free case of wine! They also use the cards to vote for their favourite tapa and favourite waiter or waitress. The bar with the most votes is presented with a certificate from the Town Hall.
I’m not in Spain at the moment but I do have the good fortune to live very close to El Gato Negro, a winner in Gordon Ramsay’s “F Word”, which servers the most amazing tapas. Here’s the menu:
Sour dough bread with olive oil and Pedro Ximenez balsamic
Jamon Serrano with celeriac remoulade
Baby roast chicken
Cauliflower & chickpea
A perfect tortilla
Manchego cheese with figs
Here’s the cheese & figs, which came with a hand-made torta from Seville: