beeld: olie op canvas F. Snyders 1614

Column: Death by Food - Laura de Marcos Carbonell


Beeld: F. Snyders 1614

by Laura de Marcos Carbonell

How are you doing so far about your new year's resolutions? I only made one, a serious one, as soon as I returned from visiting my family in Spain to my host country. My resolution? Going to rehab. Why? Let me tell you about Christmas time in Spain. 


You have to meet everybody you know before the year ends in case the sun decides to explode and you don't get another chance. The thing is that you don't meet at the park, or go to an exhibition. The meeting has to take place around a table full of food and booze. There you talk about what you ate yesterday and what your mouth will taste tomorrow while your eyes and stomach absorb the gargantuan food still-life.

By the time Christmas arrives you already gained a few kilos and wish you could only eat steamed vegetables for the rest of your life. But soon enough you meet again with family and friends to stuff yourself. Steamed veggies will have to wait till New Year. Maybe serve them accompanied by a blue cheese sauce and a side dish of roasted turkey filled with chesnuts (oh god, not again!)? While you are physically munching, your mind does the same in a very artistic way. It goes Rococo all the way. Believe me, Minimalism doesn't exists in Spanish Christmas gastronomy.

You might feel guilty for a second about all the excesses. Nevertheless, you keep on going until your plate is sparkly clean, a consequence of spending your childhood listening to your mother telling you you should eat up because kids in Africa didn't have anything to eat. So, it is possible to eat with your mouth, your eyes, your mind and your conscience! Multiple indigestion, you might call it.

Living in another country has opened my eyes about how Spaniards are controlled by food. This foodnibalism, tough very extreme during Christmas, doesn't ever go away. I guess it is the down side of how Latin people are passionate, especially about celebrating pretty much anything. Could I order as a main dish only the passion, steamed please, and leave the rest out?

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