We're wining and dining in Italy…. old, but appropriate, bit on timing… and a new recipe
Living in other countries has taught me that, while there in an underlying humanism that binds us all together, it's the little things that can be so befuddling, particularly to the novice traveler!
Something as simple as daily habits can leave people scratching there heads in bemusement, or, much worse, totally missing lunch or going to bed hungry because they don't know what time the locals eat.
Most of the people that I know in the U.S. think 11:30 is a reasonable time for lunch. In Ireland that's time for 'elevenses': coffee and a sweet roll or biscuit. In Spain it's 'second breakfast': usually a small ham sandwich and a wine or beer. 'First breakfast' is coffee and a bit of bread around 8:00.
If you try to eat lunch in France before 1:00 you'll have a bit of difficulty because most restaurants aren't open yet. But don't wait until after 2:15, they're already closed. Oh, and in the smaller towns all the shops close so the proprietors can go to lunch as well.
Lunch in Spain doesn't start until 2:00 in the northern parts, closer to 3:00 in the south. And you might as well plan on a leisurely lunch because all of the shops, banks, businesses, etc. close there for 2 or 3 or 4 hours.
After an 11:30
breakfast lunch Americans, or, at least, Midwesterners, are hungry by late afternoon and start thinking about dinner. Early bird specials start at 4:30.
I'm barely through with lunch! In French farm country, where we live, dinner is about 7:00 (farmers are early risers, after all, usually up by 6:00 in the morning). In the cities, 8:00 is a more usual dinner hour, running to 10:30 in summer with the long evenings.
And, if one eats so early, chances are one will be hungry and eat again later in the evening… Chips and dip anyone?
Yes, that counts.
Back in Spain, of course it's a wee bit later. If you want to eat at a decent, non-tourist restaurant in Madrid don't plan on a reservation before 11:30 (yes, that IS in the evening) and even at that hour you'll be the first ones there. The Madrileños will trickle in around 1:00, children in tow.
I have to confess here, we maintain our Spanish habits. Breakfast around 8:30, a light lunch between 2:00 and 3:00 and dinner around 11:00. When I visit my family in the U.S. they move dinner back one hour,to 6:30, in deference to me. When they visit us, we move dinner forward 3 hours, to 8:00, in deference to them. (Hmmm, seems like I do the most compromising, here…Oh well, I do try to be reasonable…)
Now I can hear all the 'But it's so unhealthy to go to bed on a full stomach!'
- First: one doesn't have to eat so
damnmuch at dinner!
- Second: all the other mammals sleep after eating, why shouldn't humans? Do you think you know better than Mother Nature? Huh? DO YOU?
And explain please, why my 'full stomach' of a bit of protein, some vegetables and whole grains, washed down with a glass of wine is worse than a full stomach of sugar and fat from that big bowl of ice cream eaten whilst watching the evening news….in bed?
Try a later dinner of grilled turkey cutlets instead…..
Turkey cutlets cook quickly, and work very well with marinades. If you can't get them get a turkey tenderloin and either slice it into thin cutlets yourself or ask your butcher. You could also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
2 – 4 turkey cutlets, depending on size, 12oz total weight (350gr)
2 tbs capers (with liquid)
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
Put capers, lemon juice and oil in small bowl and whisk to combine – mixture will get very thick. Put turkey in a shallow dish and pour marinade over and let marinate for 15 minutes.
Remove from marinade and cook on barbecue grill for 3 – 4 minutes per side depending on thickness – or until done.
Serve, with a few more capers sprinkled on…
In addition to this, for the week of May 13 we have Grilled Salmon, Barbecued Sirloin Steak, Risotto with Veal and Asparagus, Pasta Salad with Sausage and Chickpeas, Brown Rice and Spinach Salad….
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