A Spanish wedding is food nirvana
FOR A skinny lad, I can certainly pack away a lot of food without putting on an ounce of fat. Whether it's because of my DNA, regular walking, or just plain luck there’s slim chance of my waistline expanding. I could eat a whole cow in one sitting and still not trouble the scales. Considering food is my one, true love this is just as well.
So when an invitation to a wedding dropped into my post box I was more excited than a child at Christmas because I knew there would be excellent food in abundance.
Yes, it would be great to see my friends get hitched but as Spanish weddings are no place for dieters there would be an eye-popping banquet to savour. A couple of years ago I went to the First Holy Communion of this couple’s son which involved seven hours of non-stop eating and drinking at a fancy hotel, so I had very high hopes for the nuptials. I was not disappointed.
The ceremony and reception took place in the huge grounds of a cortijo. We arrived, watched them say “I do” and then the first lot of food rolled out. Waiters and waitresses scurried back and forth with platters filled with tapas.
There were marinated anchovies, mussels, sizzling pork skewers and colourful creations that gave no clues as to what they were.
As I can eat pretty much anything there was no point in asking what they contained and so everything went down the hatch.
At weddings, it is expected that you circulate and make small talk with complete strangers, which is fine to a point. I really did try to give people my full attention when they were talking but in the same way that most of us with a Y chromosome turn our heads when a pretty girl walks by so my eyes kept drifting away from conversations when fresh platters were being brought out.
After about an hour and a half, it was time to go in for the kill, the sit-down meal inside the giant marquee. Now the feasting could really begin. Nice rabbit food to start with, then prawns followed by an inches thick slab of the tenderest steak I’ve had for years, fit for Fred Flintstone. The final course was a trio of puddings. Oh, Spanish weddings I do love thee.
Judging by the empty plates being carried away to the kitchen area it seemed that everyone else had also eaten prodigious amounts. Now, I could have quite easily had a siesta there and then but apparently it was time for dancing. I’ve no idea how anyone with a full stomach can throw energetic shapes on the dance floor but many of the women were giving it their all.
Some people say they feel sexy, energetic, passionate and alive when they’re dancing. Me? I loathe it more than I know how to express. I’d rather have my neck shaved by Stevie Wonder than get up and boogie. When I hear music, I want to enjoy the melodies and sing along (quietly as I’m reasonably tone deaf and considerate of others). I don’t see it as an excuse for some non-rhythmic cavorting, hands whirling around like a helicopter with twisted blades. I can’t dance. I won’t dance. Fortunately, I wasn’t alone in this and so many of us gents sloped off for a short walk.
By this point in the proceedings, I had already put away enough food to satisfy an army squadron on manoeuvres. But there was still more to come. Like hunter-gathers with nostrils flared to sniff the air for sweet and delicious scents our walk led us to one of the bar areas where we stood around tables to eat and drink some more.
What followed was three continuous hours of tucking into serrano ham which is like the crack cocaine or Haribos of the meat world. Once I've had one slice I can't stop, neither could anyone else. As soon as we wolfed down one plate somebody went up to get another. And so it went on until almost midnight.
I left the wedding fully satiated and enjoyed a very, very comfortable night’s sleep. But the next day was a new one and I still got up early and toddled off to a local bar for my regular Sunday morning full English breakfast – with extra bacon! Paul Arnold is a former BBC producer who worked on science, news and magazine programmes, travelling the world to interview Nobel Prize winners, politicians and celebrities. After 16 years he left the corporation and moved to Spain where he writes for publications across the USA, Canada and Europe.
Once I've had one slice of serrano ham I can't stop