Oily Spanish Food

Don’t get me wrong; as much as I say I don’t like Spanish food, I like Spanish food. I should be more specific.

Things I Like About Spanish Food:

  • It’s cheap
  • It’s covered in olive oil
  • I can dip bread or picos (crackers) in it
  • It tastes great with Cruzcampo (beer!)

Things I Don’t Like About Spanish Food:

  • Sometimes it’s gross
  • Sometimes it’s really covered in olive oil
  • On holiday weeks like this–I hope this doesn’t last all tourist season–, it’s twice the price and half as delicious

What I’d like to focus on today, though, is the olive oil. Olive oil is delicious. I like to buy several different kinds of olive oil and put them on several different saucers and eat them with several different kinds of bread, all in one sitting. Sometimes for breakfast I will cut off a hunk of baguette, toast it, and count to 10 while I pour olive oil all over it, and then I smear some mushy tomato on it, and say, “Mmmmmmm!” while I eat it. When I am cooking and the recipe calls for two tablespoons, I put in four. Sometimes six. Later on, I usually add some more.

In the past (read: 3 days ago), I justified this behavior in the following ways:

  • I like to snack on frozen peas
  • I don’t eat a lot of doughnuts
  • Maybe olive oil is good fat

Basically it was a let’s-pretend-good-things-cancel-out-bad-things game, but we all know that good things don’tcancel bad things just because they coexist.

Luckily, I don’t have to play mind games to feel good about olive oil anymore. An “11-year study of natives of Spain,” according to this cautious Atlantic article, had the following results:

Increased fried food consumption had no effect on the probability of death or developing heart disease. The results were the same for those who used olive oil for frying and those who used sunflower oil or other vegetable oils.

Of course, the article doesn’t mean I should start adding doughnuts to my daily diet:

Frying food adds extra fat and calories. Clearly, it’s not a recipe for weight loss.

But that reminds me: I highly recommend doughnuts in Sevilla, especially from a pastelerĂ­a. I think they bake them. They are the best doughnuts I have ever had. Here are some pictures of silly doughnut shops around town:

Doopie's DoughnutsDuffin Dagels

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2 thoughts on “Oily Spanish Food

  1. I never thought of putting olive oil on frozen peas! Have to try it.
    My favorite oily spanish food is Inez Rosales torta de aceite, both savory and sweet, or orange…mmmm. Thanks for the posts. European pastries are all very fine food, I’ve found.

  2. Ack, I don’t put olive oil on frozen peas. It’s just an excuse where I think that maybe snacking on frozen peas instead of Twinkies balances out how much olive oil I eat; it’s like saying, “I don’t spend $5/day on cigarettes, so I can spend $75 on this dress.”

    European pastries are good, but so far I agree with the world that French pastries are the best! Spanish pastries are about the same as American pastries, I’m afraid. But I’ve had Ines Rosales’ tortas de aceite and they are divine.

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