Tapas at the Market: The Belly Rules the Mind

While I was on vacation, my friends Isa and Jo covered the Chef Series at the Holland Farmers Market. The following blog post is their article, which includes photos they took during the demonstration. 

On July 10, Tom Hoover from Hope College cooked for us with his assistant Tim Roader, who is also from Hope College. They prepared tapas. We know that tapas are from Spain, and because Spain played against the Netherlands in the final World Cup match, our cook chose this food.

Tom explained  the history of tapas using information from Wikipedia:

The word “tapas” comes from the Spanish verb tapar, “to cover.”

The tapas tradition began when King Alfonso X of Castile recovered from an illness by drinking wine with small dishes between meals. After regaining his health, the king ordered that taverns would not be allowed to serve wine to customers unless it was accompanied by a small snack or “tapa.”

According to the Joy of Cooking the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.

Tapas has evolved through Spanish history by incorporating ingredients and influences from many different cultures and countries. Most of the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the Romans, who introduced the olive and irrigation methods. The invasion of the North African Moors in the 8th century brought almonds, citrus fruits and fragrant spices. The influence of their 700-year presence remains today, especially in Andalusia. The discovery of the New World brought the introduction of tomatoes, sweet and chili peppers, maize (corn), beans and potatoes. These were readily accepted and easily grown in Spain’s microclimates.

As we know, Spain is a quite big country, and they have all kinds of tapas from different parts of the country.

First our cooks made a Tomato and Watermelon Salad which comes from Basque.

After that they prepared Fried Goat Cheese with Honey from Madrid.

And at last they cooked a Smokey Lake Perch with Pine Nut Sauce which has a Mediterranean origin.

Here are the recipes they followed:


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