Culture Shock, Uncategorized

Are there really more Spanish vegetarians?

I’ve just got back from a barbecue, in February. Fair enough, what started off as a planned barbeque did actually just end up as lunch indoors because of some mean looking clouds, but the meat loving idea was there.

Slice of Jamón anyone? Photo by Ivana

That thought of meat sizzling on the hot coals as early as February was definitely a first – I normally wait until at least May. It was great getting stuck into some burgers and pork though. I actually tried fresh spinach for the first time, which might have actually been the highlight.

I could never become a vegetarian. I see the benefits and like the idea of it, but I don’t think I could get through a week without some meat sliding onto my plate, especially as I live in Spain, and my wife is a meat lover. So, I was astonished to read today on Think Spain, that nearly 1 in 13 Spaniards are now vegetarians or vegans. According to this article titled Vegetarian revolution, the number of restaurants and food stores catering exclusively for vegetarians and vegans has doubled since 2011.

The question on my meaty lips is how many of those vegetarians are hard core ones who never touch, smell or even look at meat and fish, and how many allow themselves to eat jamón. In the restaurant round the corner from where I work, I swear they had never even heard of the word ‘vegetariano’ until we had a teacher who didn’t like meat about 10 years ago. They actually suggested she eat jamón, I mean, who doesn’t eat jamón? I also know a teacher who considers herself as a vegetarian, but does have the occasionally leg of ham.

I’ve never thought about the impact of being a vegetarian in Spain, but it must be pretty hard work. The only pure vegetarian meal I’ve had out is pisto (a Spanish equivalent of ratatouille), and it’s one of my favourite dishes ever. I eat a lot of veg during the week, pisto, spinach with chickpeas, salad, and whatever else I can stomach, but when the weekend comes it is time for carne.

Eating out in Spanish restaurants is great, we don’t do it so much anymore, but meat is always on our wonky table somewhere. There’s just so many types you can have. When I was in a restaurant in Rota last summer, there was a great big chalk painted drawing of a pig on the wall, and all the parts were labelled with the specific name of the meat. One of my favourites has always been solomillo, and I found out that was the back part of the back. I also like presa, which is the front part of the back.

I can see why more and more Spaniards are becoming vegetarians though – it’s healthier, cheaper, and morally right. I also think it’s about time restaurants are catering more for those non-meat lovers. Compared to back home, I miss the option of having veggies when I go out for a meal. Whether I’ll chose them with so much lovely meat available is another thing.

What about you? Have you had any problems being a vegetarian in Spain? Do you think you are well catered for?


Best websites for following Spanish news…

You would have thought that by living in Sevilla, I’d have a pretty updated and expansive knowledge of exatly what’s going on in the country, sadly I don’t. Thanks to my 4pm start time and 10pm finish time, it’s quite tricky to fit in the 3pm and 9pm news bulletins on the TV.  So, after 11 years in the country, I’ve decided to pay more attention and have started following the news more. I normally do it in Spanish, just to improve my vocabulary and reading skills, but now and then I feel lazy and want to quickly scan the headlines, which is why I’ve come up with this list of websites to keep updated with Spanish news. Here they are, in no particular order.

He must be keen to catch up on the news, being out in the cold… Photo by Penseiro

The Local

This is ‘Spain’s news in English’ which is exactly what I’m looking for. The Local has interesting news, sport, and lifestyle articles, plus a few on ‘life in Spain’.

El Pais, in English

El Pais (The Country) is a popular broadsheet style newspaper in Spain.

Typically Spanish

This website is not only about news, but also has great tips on things to do and links to hotels.

Think Spain

This is an excellent site for up-to-date news, features, and general information about Spain.

On the Pulse

Not sure exactly how ‘on the pulse’ these guys are as the last articles were in October 2016, but might be worth checking out in case they do come back.

Spanish News Today

This one is slightly more updated. Check it out for news on weather, politics, sports, and both national and international news.

The Olive Press

I used to read this in the printed form back in the day. Now it looks as though the website has been revamped. Check it out for news on Andalucia, Gibraltar, Sports, and various other news.

The Guardian, Spain and The Telegraph, Spain

Those don’t need much explaining.

Online Newspaper, Spain

Indeed, as the slogan states ‘Thousands of world newspapers at your fingertips’

And finally (until I find some more, or you’d like to add any below)

Euro Weekly News

This is Spain’s largest free local newspaper in English, and has loads of categories including Sport, lifestyle, finance, property, plus more.

That’s all for now, happy reading!