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they say the ladies are insane and they sure know how to use it”  Three Dog Night~Scroll to bottom to hear and see the video.

They sure know how to use it! Could it possibly be how one author described Spain’s nightlife “as young women, all of whom are the soul of Carmen, meet on corners dressed in their flimsy finest for that is when the streets come alive.” Maybe, but this is what they know how to use: LIFE!

Life in Spain happens at the table. “”Adults will drink and laugh. Kids will play and shout. Oh, how they will shout…and all will be right with the world for a while.”  World Food Spain, for people who love to eat, drink & travel. I love it.

Here is a lifestyle that is largely different from Americans. Spain’s cuisine and table time mirrors the soul of the people who are vibrant and lively. When it comes to eating, there is no room for personality moderation. The joy of  life sits at the center of the table. Here is a typical day in the life of a Spaniard as written by Penelope Casas, the author of my featured cookbook of the month: “The Foods and Wines of Spain.”

8:00 am- light breakfast

11:00 am- midmorning breakfast

1:00 pm-  tapas

2:00 pm – three- course lunch

5-6 pm –    tea and pastries or snack

8-10 pm – evening tapas

10-11 pm – three course supper

Tapas– a Spanish custom that happens before lunch and before dinner, includes appetizers ranging from very complex to the most simple fare.  The word tapas comes from the word tapar, to cover.  It began as a barkeeper’s habit of placing a small plate or a slice of bread on top of a glass of wine to keep out the flies. Soon small samplings of food set atop-a slice of ham, a piece of cheese, vegetables. Voila, a tradition begins.

I had a tapas selection Sunday night at my book study. It was simple and elegant and amazed at how a few ingredients made my little dishes come to life. My selections included:

Alachofas Salteadas con Jamon~ Sauteed Artichokes and Cured ham

Canape de Atun y Tomate~ Marinated Tuna and Tomato on Bread

Champinones Rellenos ~ Pork Stuffed Mushrooms

After those awesome little dishes, I served the Cornish Hens wrapped with Grapes leaves and Bacon with a Spicy Potato Dish.

One thing is certain, when there’s tapas, there is enthusiastic conversation, not just in Spain but this evening as well. We spoke of  food, Spain, life, wedding planning, Uganda, blogs, hospitality, a minister called Trocme, dogs and we laughed a lot! That is what the table is all about: LIFE!  If you are up to it give the tapas a go for a simple night of conversation and life! Also give a try at the spicy potato recipe below~ this is sure to liven you up! Check out the tapas dishes pics.

Patatas Picantes by Penelope Casas

(Spicy Potatoes)

Serves 4

3 medium all purpose potatoes

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon crushed dried red chile peppers

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt

Bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water to cover and cook until tender. Peel, then cut in 1/4 inch slices.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the potatoes until lightly browned. Sprinkle on the paprika, chili pepper, garlic, and salt. Cook 5

minutes more, turning occasionally.

“Love is the greatest refreshment in life”~Pablo Picasso

“So go live, love, and love again.”~~me

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