Spanish Salads

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Since moving to Spain, I decided to eat healthier and to “eat what the locals eat”.

It occurred to me that being a post-war baby, my earliest memories were from the 1950’s. Looking back, it seemed an age of innocence then. Well, innocence in terms of our daily lives.

When the weather was bad Mum had a regular meal roster from Sunday to Sunday. She always overcooked the meat and vegetables.

Sunday was beef and yorkshire pudding, Monday was reheated beef or “bubble and squeek”, Tuesday was….well I’ve forgotten – but I know, being a good Catholic, that Friday was always fish with vegetables.

I remember with sharp images and emotion the warm summer days. We ate salad then. Or if my infinite supply of uncles and aunts (they all lived 20 miles away in a town called Reading), came to tea – then salad was on the menu.

Potatoes and bread were fairly cheap so I was raised on ’em by the bucket-load.

So what did our salad consist of? well, lettuce of course, tomatoes cut up into quarters, sliced spam or  luncheon meat, or (my favourite), corned beef. Radishes with salt on the side (my Dad grew ’em),  Boiled New Potatoes,  a mountain of  half-sliced bread and butter  slices……

….and a big pile of Branston Pickle.

…..and…..the whole thing liberaly doused in Heinz Salad Cream….

I never thought about it, but I suppose the Heinz stuff was mayo, mustard, and suger – or similar. In short – it dominated the flavour. To this day, eating a raw tomato tastes boring to me. (Can I get Therapy?).

Get the picture? fork up a pile of Heinz-soaked salad, and follow through with a half-slice of bread and butter.

Breakfast in the UK for me was ALWAYS the same. A cup of strong tea, cornflakes with milk and sugar – AND a round of marmalade sandwiches.

Come to think of it, evening meal was marmalade sandwiches – or (get this…) crisp sandwiches. Dad had Rice Pudding with custard and tinned fruit. Or Rhubarb and custard.

Now, as for fruit, since all long as I can remember, Mum would give me a whole orange with the top peeled off, and two or three sugar cubes stuffed down inside. Heaven forbid I should get used to natural flavours!

Fast-forward half a century and here I am in Spain. Most days are warm, and the Spanish will always have a shared plate of salad – with full-grain bread and a mayo/garlic dip.

This serves as a pre-starter dish. They will dose their salad in vinegar, olive oil, and salt/pepper to taste. Delicious!

A meal I love is Lamb. Over here it just falls apart on your plate – you’ll likely get a leg for yourself. But only a half a potato. No more piling up the carbs…they still have a tendency to over-cook your greens though…..

I eat often in the local bar-restaurantes in my local town of Pego. They are full of the locals – and I seem to be tolerated – liked even! It’s buzzing, lively, the food is simple, healthy, and delicious. And a bottle of smooth wine thrown in.

It’s like being taken back to the 1950’s UK. Only Royalty drank wine though!

Life Is Simpler Here. And life is all the better for it.

They seem to be restoring my diet and preferences into a better life too – a better balance between meat and potatoes – and bread.

Sunshine, olive oil, fresh meat and vegetables – plus vino – they may give me a few extra years on this planet – providing my awful 50 years of UK diet hasn’t done too much damage!

UPDATE. I am on a strict KETO Diet and shedding pounds..

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