Okay, so I suck... I wrote this post a few months ago, when I had only been here for 2 months. For some reason, I decided against posting it. Upon discussing this topic with friends and finding that we've all had this same experience, they convinced me to post it. Better late than never, right?!
I have been in Spain for exactly two months now... crazy, huh?! Since arriving in Spain I been picking up on many cultural differences between Spain and the United States. While I could list off dozens of little things that make me feel super American around here, and some of the biggest cultural differences are related to food.
A common topic of discussion between my auxiliar friends and I has to do with Spanish eating habits. There are quite a few differences in the types of food eaten, meal times, and table etiquette, which I plan to elaborate on in future posts. One thing that has stuck out to me when dining with Spaniards is how they eat fruit. In the States, fruit is a portable food. Hungry on the go? Grab an apple or a banana and eat it on the run. Fruit is a finger food. You simply bite into the apple, eat the banana straight from the peel, or tear into an orange with your fingers.
Just like this...
In Spain, you´ll be hard pressed to find someone eating fruit on the go. Fruit is eaten with a plate, knife, and a fork. I´ve never seen anyone eat fruit as gracefully as the Spanish. And until today, I have avoided any fruit besides bananas at the lunch table. Today at recreo, I decided to give it a shot. I picked up an orange and began peeling it with my knife. Super Spanish, right? I began peeling the rind off, and next thing I know I had dozens of pieces of rind covering my plate and my hands were covered in orange juice. The gym teacher just looked at me and laughed and commented on my peeling technique, and I tried to explain that I don´t like the white part on the orange. Called out!
I immediately looked around the room to see what was so different about my technique. I mean, I used a knife after all! Sure enough, everyone at the table had cut the top of the peel off their oranges, and neatly removed the rest of the peel in one piece. After the orange is peeled, they continue to eat the orange with a knife and fork. So proper. This same technique applies to almost every type of fruit: apples, pears, oranges, etc.
Well, there you have it: How to peel an orange in Spain. I´m going to give it another go tomorrow, and hopefully I´ll be a pro by Friday.
Update: 3 months later, and I still avoid eating oranges at the table, but mostly due to the fact that I'm too lazy to put that much effort into eating a piece of fruit.