- Typical Spanish... Fast Food "a la española"
- Featured City... Marbella: Fiestas de San Bernabé
- Famous Person... Massiel
- Spanish Recipe... Ajopringue
- Popular saying... "Ser más tonto que el impuesto de los mecheros"
- Vocabulary... Las "tribus urbanas españolas" (del yeyé al gafapasta)
- Word of the month... Exquisitez
- Notices... Nuestros campamentos para jóvenes comienzan el 30 de junio
Fast Food "a la española"
If you ask a Spanish person what they understand by the phrase "fast food", they will most likely give a different response to people from other cultures. For example, for many people, the term "fast food" conjures up images of greasy burgers, pizzas with masses of cardboard and fries smothered in ketchup. But if we consider the meaning of the term as "food prepared quickly for urgent consumption" – we realize that in our country there are savory specialties – without negative health connotations – that could conceivably be called "fast food".
For example, do you know what a Pepito de Ternera is? It is simply a grilled beef sandwich that can be found in any bar. Simple and quick to prepare, it is a healthy, homemade equivalent to a greasy hamburger with less of an industrial taste. It’s the same story with Los Montados, small sandwiches with ingredients that can range from classic Spanish omelet to ham and tomato.
The aforementioned Spanish snacks are not to be confused with "pinchos", which are small slices of bread which can be eaten with almost any ingredient on top. Another option, if you are not a big fan of bread, is food fried in olive oil. The Spanish, as you know, prefer not to fry things in butter and chose the lighter option of oil instead. Frying is a very versatile cooking style as almost any food can be fried in just a few minutes. When done well, fried food can be delicious: for example, "Pescaíto Andaluz" combined with fried eggs, ham and potatoes becomes a delicious dish called "Huevos Estrellados".
In every bar in Spain you will find at least two types of potato dish, usually served with a dollop of one of the following Spanish sauces "Las Ali-Oli" (garlic mayonnaise) or "Las Brave" (a mixture of tomato and chili). Other tasty Spanish sauces that will compliment any fried food dish include: "La Romescu Catalana" made with bread, tomatoes, almonds, oil, salt and pepper and "El Mojo Picón" based on paprika, salt, cumin, parsley, pepper and oil.
What can we say about our cold soups? Most of them are so easy to make that it’s simply a case of washing the ingredients, putting them in the blender and then seasoning to taste. Highlights of Andalusian cuisine include: "Gazpacho" (made with tomato, oil, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic) and "Gazpacho" made with bread, tomatoes and olive oil and seasoned with boiled egg and ham before serving.
Surely, as well as being quick to prepare, these Spanish speciality dishes are also healthy and nutritious and we encourage you to try them. By the way, none of these recipes takes more than 15 minutes! Take note Jamie Oliver!
Marbella: Fiestas de San Bernabé
On the 11th June 1485, the army of the Catholic Monarchs conquered Marbella without resorting to violence. This day is named in honor of Saint Barnabas, the patron saint of the city.
As in every respectable Spanish city, Saint’s Day in Marbella is a big party that is preceded and followed by days of celebration. Each year, a few days before Saint’s Day, the show begins: Alameda Park and the old town are decorated to look like a typical Andalusian party: colorful costumes, horse carts, bullfights and "casetas" in which to dance and sample the local cuisine.
The days surrounding Saint’s Day are filled with all kinds of religious activities. For example, a procession, led by someone carrying a giant cross, makes its way through the city finishing up in front of St. Barnabas himself. After the few nights it takes to gather strength to face the celebrations that follow, its party time! Festivities include fireworks, performances by famous Spanish personalities and even playground equipment for kids.
If you are in Spain at this time, do not miss the feast of St. Barnabas: a little bit of everything that makes a good Saint’s Day condensed into one great Andalusian party! In the words of a true Spaniard: "¡Pasadlo bien!" (Have a good time!)
With the amount of good music made in Spain (or perhaps because of it) it's amazing that a festival like Eurovision has denied us so many times. In fact, to come first in this contest is considered a huge achievement. Massiel was the first to achieve No.1 status.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: María de los Ángeles Félix Santamaría Espinosa was born in Madrid on the 2nd August 1947 and from a very young age she had artistic inclinations. In fact, her stage name is the nickname by which she was known in her ballet classes. Two of her characteristics, energy and extroversion also derive from this time in her life: armed with both these traits at the age of 17, she presented the famous radio DJ, Joaquín Prat, a tape with her voice on it.
María de los Ángeles works harder each year on her musical career: she won the "Critics Festival of Mallorca" and released her first successful track in 1967: a song written by Luis Eduardo Aute called "Rosas en el Mar", that appears on the soundtrack of the film "Side by side".
The highlight of her successful career came in 1968 when she sang "La, la, la" at the Eurovision Song Contest in place of Joan Manuel Serrat after he was cut from the show by the government of the time for wanting to sing the song in Catalan. The victory of the young singer was so unexpected that, before long, a rumor began circulating that the Franco government had bought votes to win prestige in Europe.Fortunately for María de los Ángeles, it was shown that this rumor was based on false facts. A few years ago however, the rumors began circulating once more.
Of course, from this moment on, María de los Ángeles gained international recognition as a singer and an actress. She knew how to adapt her acting style to fit any film genre: from light-hearted comedy to works of Shakespeare and Brecht; also, in the field of music, she dared to dabble in pop, traditional Spanish music and even protest songs! María de los Ángeles released over 50 albums at this stage of her career.
However, as time went by, she began to be known more for her reputation than for her career as a professional singer and actress. Although there were times of drought and even personal tragedy, the ever adaptable Massiel has remained active in the public eye: taking part in a selection of musical productions and even hosting numerous TV shows. During the long, bumpy ride to stardom, María de los Ángeles never lost her sense of humor.
Not surprisingly, because of her strength, drive, versatility, confidence and grace, the singer is known by the loud and fun nickname: "La Tanqueta de Leganitos" (The Small Tank of Leganitos).
Side note:Leganitos is the name of the street in Madrid where Massiel grew up.
Due to its name, this recipe native to La Mancha has an air of comedy evoking rural simplicity and innocence as well as a pinch of pastoral flavor. When most Spaniards hear the word "Ajopringue", the image of a man wearing a beret smearing a generous spoonful of garlic paste on his bread springs to mind.
It’s possible that you won’t like this month’s specialty because of its slightly unusual ingredients: liver, pork fat, garlic, paprika, bread without yeast and pine nuts. And, despite what the editors think, this dish is suitable for people that are dieting!
It’s also possible that you won’t like this dish because of the way it is prepared: you must cut the fresh liver into chunks, along with the garlic, paprika and bread crumbs. Add a splash of water and mash it until it is made a paste. Then we fry in the pork fat and add the pine nuts, stirring all the while. We'll know it's ready to eat when you have the consistency of a puree. When it’s finished, the consistency will resemble that of thick soup or porridge, so it is perfect for spreading on a piece of bread.
Because of the ingredients, it is very likely that you have guessed that this is a typical dish from the pig-slaughtering season. Before effective conservation methods were introduced, the entrails had to be consumed quickly. Additionally, the liver was valued highly due to its rich supply of iron.
This specialty dish is unique and interesting and while we understand that it may not be aesthetically pleasing, if you live by the motto, "Try Everything Once" (TEO) then, who knows? You might find something that you really like!
"Ser más tonto que el impuesto de los mecheros" (To be even sillier than the lighter tax on cigarettes)
This is one of those sayings that sarcastic grandparents use to scold their grandchildren when they do something wrong. This phrase is usually put to use when someone makes a mistake which only a person with a low IQ would be capable of making.
Nowadays, this phrase isn’t used so much, perhaps because lighters are not such a common site in the street anymore since the introduction of the new smoking laws. Plus, lighter tax on cigarettes, which incidentally has a curious history, no longer exists.
Let us place ourselves in the months between 1911 and 1912. The government of President José Canalejas decided that anyone who bought or possessed a lighter must pay a tax charge. The payment varied according to the material that the lighter was made from: two pesetas for metal, five pesetas for silver, and ten pesetas for gold or platinum.
The reason for introducing this tax was not to end smoking in public. What happened was that the state had owned the rights to the manufacture and distribution of matches, which made a great deal of money for the government. However, the introduction of mechanical lighters threatened the amount of money flowing into the pockets of government officials. And what better way to make people stop using lighters than putting tax on them?
The idea of putting a tax on lighters sounds absurd to us nowadays, but it also seemed strange to people at the time. When lighter tax was first introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, smokers suddenly saw the Spanish government in an extremely negative light. Many jokes were made at the expense of the tax collector and magazines and newspapers featured satirical columns which referred to the ludicrousness of the lighter tax.
The funny thing is that during the time of Franco's dictatorship, this tax was brought back. You can find pictures on the internet of the payment cards used to pay for lighters when this tax was in use. Understandably, during the reign of Franco that time, protesting was a risky business, so people invented sayings instead, so that’s how the expression of this month was born.
Now that we have shed some "light" on its meaning, we hope that you never have to hear it and if you do then try not to let it "burn you" (pardon the bad pun).
The "Spanish Urban Tribes" (de Yeyé a Gafapasta) (from Sixties-Groover to Indie-Hipster)
While walking through the streets of virtually any Spanish city, it is more than likely that you will come into contact with several groups of people dressed similarly with similar cultural interests. These are the "Urban Tribes". You might think "of course, as in any other country". But, in Spain there are some that do not exist in other countries. We are going to name some of them.
- Bakalaero: Almost two decades ago, a type of distinctly Spanish electronic music was born called "bakalao". Look up Chimo Bayo and Paco Pil on the internet. These are two musicians, famous in the Bakalaero world for always wearing sports clothing.
- Cani: This term is associated with young people who combine their love of car customization with a taste for "Spanish flamenco pop". Peculiar hairstyles known as "ashtrays", branded sportswear colorful tracksuits and oversized gold jewelry all epitomize this subculture.
- Friki: This term is associated with the word "freak"; in fact, this is where the term "Friki" was derived from originally. In Spain, a "Friki" is a person that is half way between a "nerd" and a "geek". In other words, as well as being a comic book fan, this type of person is knowledgeable about the latest technology and electronic gadgets.
- Gafapasta: Very similar to the American "hipsters" in that they love alternative, independent culture. The Spanish name is derived from two separate words: "gafas" (glasses) and "pasta" (plastic) given that plastic glasses are a common accessory worn by the members of this particular social group.
- Moderniqui: Some people identify this subculture as a "spin-off" of gafapasta. But this is something different. The "moderniqui" is more like a "trendy hipster". A moderniqui is not of the same way of thinking as a gafapasta but they both follow the same fashion trends.
- Pijo: This is a term used to refer to the "rich kids" that were fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families. They typically dress themselves in pristine, branded clothing, nautical trends and knitted jumpers. To top it off, a prototypal "pijo" would be sporting a purposefully "mussed up" hairstyle. In recent years, this subculture has been associated with the "preppy kids" of the USA.
- Yeyés: Lovers of '60s pop culture in both its cultural and aesthetic aspect. Moderniquis and gafapastas have adopted some of their mannerisms but we can safely say that Yeyés have never aspired to be pseudo-intellectuals (teenagers that think they have everything figured out despite having very little experience of life). Possibly the oldest "Urban Tribe" of them all (its origin indicates British mod influences) it dates from the time of "developmentalism", when the dark post-war Spain opened to the world and other influences.
There were, and are, more "Spanish Urban Tribes", but these are the ones that are most likely to be quoted by your Spanish friends.
This month's word evokes memories of a delicious plate of food, a delicate glass of wine, a refined work of art, a subtle piece of music… it is a versatile term. As well as a quality, it’s also a noun that describes the qualities possessed by a certain entity. For example, a shop selling "gourmet" food is filled with "Exquisitez".
However, this word can be misleading because it also has more negative connotations. For example, the word "Exquisitez" can also be used to describe a person whose mannerisms, attitude or posture is overly refined. Have you ever seen one of those ladies who pretend to faint when something seems shocking or vulgar? This would be a good example of the negative sense of "Exquisitez", in this case, someone who is excessively affectionate or extravagant in their reactions.
Thus, never say no if you’re offered an "Exquisitez" from a bakery but be careful if you ever come into contact with a person who behaves with a little too much "Exquisitez".
As summer begins this month, so too do our language camps for teenagers! Barcelona, Madrid, Marbella, Salamanca, Valencia, Granada and Seville invite thousands of international language-learners to take part in a summer holiday experience alongside students from all over Spain – an ideal opportunity to learn our language! In each of our destinations, we have the best teachers and monitors especially dedicated to making each day as educational as it is fun.
In addition to classes, our camps organize all sorts of activities and excursions to the most interesting places in Spain during which students have the opportunity to interact and work together. Your children will certainly not have a chance to get bored and they will make friends from all over the world.
There is also an option for the sportier students to get involved in a variety of outdoor activities (including horse-riding, sailing, tennis, swimming and paddle) to complement their language course in prestigious sports centers near our camp facilities.
While being committed to providing quality educational opportunities, we also think it’s important not to forget that summer is a time for fun and enjoyment! Our goal is that our students come home from an unforgettable summer holiday, having made friends for life and mastered a foreign language.
In summary, this is a summer holiday that includes everything that students and their parents want. It is, undoubtedly, a very good choice for this summer.