Food, glorious food


Madrid finger food.

Madrid finger food.

Head-sized portions in Cologne.

Head-sized portions in Cologne.

A metre of Bratwurst.

A metre of BratwurstIn March I have assignments taking me to Spain. One of these assignments is to test restaurants. This is why it can be a challenge to keep svelte when you’re a travel writer.

I was in Spain last March, and as my guide and I sat down to yet another meal of endless platters of wonderful food, I said, “I thought Tapas was about small dishes, like appetizers.”

She shrugged and said, “Tapas is a concept…”

Obviously, the concept is taken to the extreme. And the Spanish eat late. On a Saturday evening we got up from the table at 11:30 pm. Families, with children, were just coming in to eat! And they would have five-and-seven-course meals. I would be walking around the Plaza del Mayo at midnight and see grandparents, parents and kids in strollers out.

Interestingly, the Spanish manage to eat like this and stay thin. I suppose it’s the quality of the food and how it’s prepared that helps.

One of the things I have to check out is a 400-year-old restaurant which is supposed to be the oldest in the world. 400 years is impressive, but in December 2007 I ate at the Haxenhaus in Cologne. It’s 700 years old. Amazingly, it survived the bombings of WWII. So, I have to don my investigative chef’s hat.

The Haxenhaus takes great pride in using 700-year-old recipes in food preparation. People who ate out 700 years ago had much tougher lives than I do, so some of the portion sizes are a little overwhelming for modern palates. One young woman in our group ordered the pig’s knuckle without asking the age of the pig. She got a knuckle which was about the size of her head. For myself, I shared the metre-long bratwurst. Even with two of us attacking it, we barely made a dent.

Time to renew the gym membership.



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