What the Spanish Think of the English

by

eating-habits-of-the-spanish

Another possible title for this article might have been “How a Harmless Article About Little Things the Spanish Do When They Eat Provoked a Torrent of Abuse About British Hygiene Standards”.

Some background:  Back in October last year, I wrote an article entitled The Top 6 Eating Habits of the The Spanish.  It was a lighthearted look at some gastronomic customs and habits in Spain from the point of view of someone who grew up in another country but has lived in Spain for some time.  I think all of us who have lived between England (and/or other countries) and Spain during our lives, whether Spanish or English by birth, have noticed many of these little things and have almost certainly commented on them at some time or another.  I know that food is a favourite topic of conversation at Spanish dining tables so I’m sure that these points have come up many a time in Spanish/English bicultural environments.

Over the weekend of the 23rd/24th February 2013, the article went somewhat viral on the internet, ending up in a hacked up translated format on the major Spanish national website abc.com (here’s a link to the article).

As you can imagine, the article generated a lot of debate – at last count there were something like a thousand comments between this website and various forums. I was glad to receive a tonne of positive feedback on the piece – a lot of people agreeing with some of my observations, some disagreeing and many comments that they had enjoyed this little summary of observations, many of which they and their friends and family had made before.

However, I was disappointed with a minority undercurrent of extremely negative and abusive comments being generated by Spanish readers who had somehow managed to talk themselves into being offended by the observations. These comments often referred to the ‘criticisms’ I had made.  They made plenty of accusations about my intentions and about my supposed attitude towards Spain.  I responded in person to some of these comments, but decided in the end that it wasn’t worth it.  I came to the conclusion that they were probably coming from ignorant people who had almost certainly not been able to fully understand the article, particularly the tongue-in-cheek tone (thanks to many of the commenters on Meneame.com who corrected previous commenters’ wrong interpretations due to poor understanding).  I’m not referring to the people who disagreed with my observations.  To those people I say ‘thanks’ – that was the whole idea of the piece – to provoke discussion.  I am now armed with at least 12 more suggestions for a follow up piece.  No, I’m talking about the really nasty comments that very often aimed insults towards the British.

That’s right – I was identified as a worthless guiri who knew nothing about Spain and was referred to as ‘you people’ or ‘you Brits’.  Firstly, to those people, let me just point out that purposely offending a whole nation shows a side of your character you might want to try to keep under wraps in the future.  Secondly, for what it’s worth, I love Spain – it is my home and will be forever if I’m lucky.  I am culturally much more Spanish than English.

Now onto the tasty stuff.  In the interests of levelling the playing field (and having another good laugh), let’s find out what some of our commenters think of the British and their eating habits (links to the forums and translations included).  If you are British and offended by these, remember – I DIDN’T WRITE THEM – they are real comments in response to my original article.  These types of comments were in the minority, but not by as much as one would like.  I think some of them are hilarious.  Enjoy.

From Meneame.com (a Spanish social bookmarking site)

Me encanta que en este tipo de artículos el europeo (que deja entrever a veces cierta superioridad) siempre se pregunta cómo los españoles se preocupan tanto por la higiene para preguntarse acto seguido cómo ellos mismos pueden ser limpios sin hacer lo mismo que los españoles.  Sencillo. Porque no lo sois. Los españoles dan mil vueltas en higiene corporal y doméstica a la mayoría de ciudadanos al norte de los Pirineos…los ingleses no tenéis la piel de teflón aunque lo creáis. Cerdos, que sólo os limpiáis por Navidad.  I love the way these types of articles in which the European (with a certain air of superiority) always asks himself how the Spanish can be so worried about personal higiene and then goes on to wonder how they themselves can be clean without doing the same as the Spanish.  Simple.  Because you are not.  The Spanish are miles better at bodily and domestic cleanliness that the majority of the citizens to the north of the Pyrenees.  You English don’t have Teflon skin even though you think you do.  Pigs – you only clean yourselves at Christmas.

Un inglés opinando sobre gastronomía… o_o
No sé si partirme de risa o compararlos con algún país tercemundista.  An Englishman commenting on gastronomy – I don’t know whether to die laughing or compare them to a third-world country.

Yo después de estar viviendo un tiempo en Inglaterra constato que en la mayor parte de los casos la higiene en general deja bastante que desear. No es una sensación mía, todos los españoles que conozco y que han vivido o viven con ingleses me lo han comentado.
Deja que desear en todos los aspectos: higiene personal, orden, la manera de limpiar todo muy por encima, lavar los platos sólo con agua caliente, solucionarlo todo con la aspiradora, dejar que los fogones, microondas u horno acumulen grasa requemada hasta límites inimaginables.  Myself, after having lived for a while in England can state that in the majority of cases the general level of hygiene leaves quite a lot to be desired.  It’s not just my own feeling – all the Spanish people I know and who have lived or live with English people have commented on it.  They leave a lot to be desired in all respects:  personal hygiene, tidiness, the way they have of cleaning everything superficially, washing the dishes with hot water, fix everything with the hoover, let the hob, microwave and oven accumulate burnt grease up to unimaginable levels.

A unos tios que comen pescado y patatas fritas con las manos les resulta curioso que nosotros usemos servilletas????.  To people who eat fish and chips with their hands it seems curious that we use napkins?

A mí me costó encontrar gente que se duchase todos los días. Por no hablar de las moquetas…
moqueta+humedad+limpiar una vez al año=ASCO.  I found it hard to find people that had a shower every day.  And let’s not speak of the carpets…  Carpet + Damp + Cleaning once a year = DISGUSTING

cuando viví allí me quedó la misma impresión. Mis compañeros de casa se quejaron porque había subido la factura del agua por mi culpa. Una, que era cocinera, se daba un baño a la semana… El viernes por la mañana su pelo chorreaba grasa.  When I lived there I was left with the same impresión.  My housemates complained that the water bill had gone up because of me.  One of them, who was a chef, took one bath a week.  By Friday morning her hair was dripping grease.

Y añado al #2, no he visto ser humano más cerdo que el inglés de Glasgow de vacaciones.  And to that I add – never have I seen a human being more disgusting than an Englishman from Glasgow on holiday.

De todas formas, cierto que tienen un clima de mierda, una comida insípida, un carácter por lo general estirado, pero las islas británicas (incluyo Irlanda) “Tienen algo” :-)  Anyway, it’s true that they have a shit climate, insipid food, a national character somewhat formal, but the British Islands (I include Ireland) “have something”

Primero, como toda generalización, no se puede aplicar a casos generales. Pero yo estoy viviendo con 4 alemanas y puedo decir que soy, con diferencia, el que más se ducha. En España, con el ritmo de ducha de mis compañeras, la casa olería a muerto. Firstly, like all generalisations, this can’t be applied to general cases.  But I am living with 4 germans and I can say that, by a long way, I am the one that showers the most.  In Spain, at the rate my housemates shower, the house would smell of dead people.

Ahora yo escribiré otro artículos sobre prejuicios y generalismo everywhere, patético artículo y muy mal documentado.
También podríamos hacer un artículo sobre el motivo de que las mujeres del norte no se depilan las piernas.  Now I’ll go and write articles about prejudices and generalise everywhere – pathetic article and very badly doucmented.  We could also write an article about why northern women don’t shave their legs.

Tiene gracia el inglés, ellos siempre han creído que son el centro del universo, si alguien no hace las cosas como ellos, es que están equivocados…me sorprendía al principio, la poca medida que tienen para beber alcohol, no es algo social como aquí, el objetivo principal es cogerse una cogorza, cuanto mayor, mejor.  This English guy is funny – they always have believed themselves to be the centre of the universe – if somebody does something differently to them then they they are mistaken.  I was surprised at the beginning by the little tolerance they have for drinking alcohol – it’s not something social like here.  The main objective is to get wasted – the more the better.

De hecho, otra caracterísitca que recuerdo de las cenas con la familia inglesa (que por suerte con la alemana no pasa) son las copas o los vasos llenos de “pintalabios”.  In fact, another characteristic that I remember from English family dinners was the glasses covered in lipstick.

Lo ingleses básicamente solo tiene el hábito de sentarse a comer los domingos con el sunday roast con la familia.  The English basically only sit down to a family meal on Sunday with a roat.

Leí una vez un estudio británico sobre higiene dental y comparaba la boca de algunos ingleses con los excrementos de gato… se ve que son muy avanzados en algunas cosas pero en otras dejan mucho que desear.  I once read a British study on dental hygiene which compared the mouths of some English people to cat excrement – they’re very advanced in some things but in others leave much to be desired.

Now extremely bored reading negative comments about British self-hygiene…

From the article on Spanish Food World

I am Spanish and you are stupid.

It’s not about neccesity, it’s about the different concept of hygiene that exists in Uk or Spain. I mean, I don’t think that in a country where you can find fitted carpet everywhere (even in bathrooms!) people are very concerned about hygiene.

Después de leer tu exposición llego a la conclusión de que los ingleses sois unos guarros, no sabéis comer, insociales y saborios.  After reading your article I come to the conclusion that the English are pigs – you don’t know how to eat, unsociable and ?

before you accuse me take a look at yourself!!!!!!!,Junto con Japón vivimos más que nadie y supongo que eso es debido a una buena higiene personal y alimentaria.Que un inglés me enseñe higiene, después de ver la cochinada de poner moqueta en el baño, no tiene precio.  Along with the Japanese we live longer than anybody due to good personal and food hygiene.  It’s priceless that an English person, after seeing the disgusting habit of putting carpet in the bathroom, should teach me about hygiene.

Next time you can speak about bullfighing, flamenco an soon to continue the usual brainless speach about spanishs.

Just one thing: you are lucky because your wife stands you acting as you writte. So you can add one more thing. Spanish wifes are really kind with stupod husbands. And this is also ver spanish

Eres un capullo y un cobarde, Jonathan. You are a jerk and a coward Jonathan.

I disagree with you.
I think you needed to write something and you tried to take advantage of the fact that your wife is spanish. And on the way you explain some things just trying to make it strange, you have some replies saying that’s a usual way of eating in England or wherever.
In Spain we think that all the food from England is s***, and i disagree, but that’s the mentality… you can’t change this, you’ve to live there to understand it. Probably you travel to Spain usually but you might don’t get the way we do the things.

From Spaniards Forum

Creo que son los menos indicados, del mundo, repito y con mayúsculas, DEL MUNDO, para criticar las costumbres culinarias de nadie..juas, juas.  I think they are the least suitable people in the world, I repeat in capitals, IN THE WORLD, to be criticising the culinary habits of anyone – Ha Ha.

So there you have it – how some tongue-in-cheek observations about eating set off a shitstorm of abuse about personal hygiene directed towards me and the country I was born in (but is not my home).  Make your own conclusions.  Personally, I have to agree that bathroom carpet is a bad idea.

59 Comments

  • I’m spanish, I read your original article and I didn’t feel offended. It was all true and I think it was not offensive at all.
    People who leave comments are not representative at all… They simple have time and make the effort to write offending remarks. It seems they’ve got nothing else to do.
    Keep writing (I hope you write something about the food here in León, my country) and ignore them :)

    • Agree, but León is not a country. León, today, is a province and also a part of Castilla y León :)

  • Estimado Jonathan,

    Yo estoy en la situacion opuesta. Soy una española casada con un ingles y viviendo en Inglaterra :-)
    Me ha dado la impresion que muchos de los comentarios trataban de ser patrioticos en vez de entender la cultura objetivamente.
    Muchos de los comentarios me han provocado sonrisas e incluso alguna que otra carcajada. Sobre todo las frases sobre la higiene que estan sacadas de quicio y de contesto. Diferente cultura y diferente CLIMA de ahi la absurdidad de las moquetas!!
    Sobre todo y no queriendo defender la higiene o falta de. Pero en Madrid de donde vengo. Un dia de verano vago sin limpiar bien la cocina, atrae cucarachas y salmonela. en Bath un dia de verano vago sin limpiar bien la cocina atrae polvo y sentimientos de culpabilidad ! No es que eso debiera hacer diferencia! Claro que algunos de tus seguidores negativos solo dirian que soy una guarra y ya esta. Pero que dificil es para los españoles salir de sus “cuatro esquinas” y olvidar ese sentimiento de inferioridad que tenemos en contra de Europa que nos hace hablar tonterias patrioticas en vez de ser objetivos. Me extraña que no hayan comentado otros estereotipos, como alemanas peludas, inglesas faciles…..etc ;-)

    • Pues efectivamente creo que había un comentario sobre ‘las mujeres de por arriba de los Pirineos’ que no se quitan el pelo de las piernas. Je Je!

      • Es una verdadera pena que nuestros sentimientos de inferioridad nos hagan responder defensivamente a observaciones sin malicia :-(
        España tiene tantos motivos y razones por los que sentirse orgullosa!. La comida, la cultura, la educacion, la unidad familiar tan fuerte…..podria seguir durante un buen rato con la lista …….
        Tu articulo fue interesante y verdadero.

        • Inferioridad la tendrás tú, porque yo, en todo caso me siento superior a los británicos y a otros países, ya tengo motivos para ello. Al contrario si alguien se sientese inferior no reaccionaría de forma agresiva, creo yo que diría a todo que sí. Si se defienden es porque les jode que un pais como UK que está más atrasado en todo que España, venga a opinar cuando ellos tienen porqué callar. Si miras el IDH verás quien está más desarrollado. Ellos deben aprender de nosotros en casi todo.

          • He llegado un año de retraso, quizá nadie lea esto.
            Por cierto ¿al UK no han llegado aún los recogedores con palo largo y sólo tienen lo que es la pala cuando barren? A ver qué tiene la GRAN BRETAÑA mejor que ESPAÑA. Aquí hubo una Constitución antes que allí. Lo de la moqueta, desde luego, que es de cerdos, eso está claro. Hay otras cosas. Cuando comen con las manos las patatas y demás por la calle, luego se limpian las manos en la ropa. Las colas para varios autobuses con distintos destinos, todos en una misma cola, absurdo, porque en todo caso tendía que ser una cola para cada bus.
            Esperanza de vida España. Futbol ESpaña, Tenis España. Clima ESpaña. Moda ESpaña. Diseño ESpaña. Aeropuertos ESpaña. Comida España. Turismo España. Trenes ESpaña. Carreteras España. Vino España. Monumentos ESpaña. Ahora ponen allí el matrimonio homo, cuando aquí lleva años. ETC. ETC. Como tu dices, es interminable. Yo creo que tengo motivos para pensar que vivo en un país mejor que el suyo. Solo falta un poco más de empleo. Pero por lo demás en casi todos los parámetros España está por arriba.

  • Please, do not pay attention all those comments you have found on internet. Most of them are ignorant people who do not know how to read this article. I have found it really interesting and i have laught at myself. I have not understood as a critic to Spanish habbits. I think it is hilarious and so true!

    Thanks for writing all those things :)

  • I just loved this one
    “Y añado al #2, no he visto ser humano más cerdo que el inglés de Glasgow de vacaciones. And to that I add – never have I seen a human being more disgusting than an Englishman from Glasgow on holiday.”

    Yeah right!

    Remember the hosts in a country can criticise all they like but as a guest we must shut up is the general way of thinking. However today I told a politician that all Spanish politicians were corrupt and he agreed totally with me ;-). At least there is one thing we agree on.

    Meanwhile virtually every Spanish person I know who has been to the Uk thinks we are dirty/messy because of the carpet in the bathroom thing.

  • I can’t believe they had such a reaction. I’m Spanish, just yesterday read the article that originally ignited those disrespectful comments. As far as I’m concerned, I finished reading the post with a smile on my face; I found it reliable and not offensive at all, often identified with the habits described which made me recall good times in Spain. So much I enjoyed it that I did subscribed to this blog’s rss feeds.

    Regarding the attacks, I would say they arise from ignorance and lack of experience abroad, on top of already short-minded individuals.

  • Hi Jonathan,

    from a Spaniard in Ireland… you nailed it, ignore those comments, they only raise another thing we Spaniards love to do… bitching :-)

    I was laughing for 10 minutes… it was a great article, and had it come from a Spaniard, those very same people would have smiled, so don’t worry.

    Ladran, Sancho, señal de que cabalgamos

  • I also think some people took it the wrong way :(
    Does anyone know if there’s a translation of the article itself in English? I’d like to share with some English friends who don’t speak Spanish. At least they’ll see I’m not a weirdo for not drinking juice/coke every day!! lol :)

  • and what is so wrong with having carpet in the bathroom?

    • ¡Ja, ja! Carpets in the bathroom is the most disgusting thing ever. Pee, hair, soap scum, wet dust. All of them bacteria, fungus and acarids food. Enjoys with those “pets” in your bathroom.

      I didn’t feel offended by the original article.

      • Si tu baño es así, debería estar avergonzado de su falta de higiene. Cuando vivía en el Reino Unido, el baño tenía moqueta y no, no tenía ninguna suciedad en la habitación del todo. Si tu baño es algo parecido a las palabras que utilizó, usted puede también ir a mear en la calle con sus amigos.

  • Hi Jonathan

    Congratulations for your job. I really love your original post about our top six eathings habits in Spain. I`ve made a post with my particular point of view about it. You can see it here (http://blogs.20minutos.es/el-nutricionista-de-la-general/2013/02/26/costumbres-espanolas-a-la-hora-de-comer-asi-nos-ve-un-ingles/)
    Congratulations on your work. Keep it up. Thanks

    • Gracias Juan – he leido tu post y me gusto mucho, aunque lo del ‘inglesito’ sobró. Je Je!!

    • Juan Revenga, debo decir que su artículo me ha sorprendido mucho. Destila una agresividad, soberbia y orgullo que, aunque entiendo que la gente es más directa en España, ya que se dirige continuamente al autor de este blog, debería tener un poco más de sensibilidad cultural. Llamarle “inglesito” no es de recibo. Entiendo que muchos en España defienden que es un término “cariñoso”, pero si observamos cómo se utiliza (por ej. negrito o chinito) vemos que este diminutivo se utiliza generalmente para encasillar al extranjero, al que no es español. Y utilizar el diminutivo es casi como mirar por encima del hombro, empequeñecer, deshumanizar (al igual que cuando en EEUU los blancos utilizaban la palabra ‘boy’ para dirigirse a un negro adulto). Por mucho que diga que “pobre alma de cántaro” sea con cariño, no deja de llamarle, en el fondo, tontolaba (o paletillo).

      No deja de comentar que el autor flipa, se asombra. Pues leyendo el artículo original no es más que una exposición de sus observaciones. En ningún momento “flipa”, sólo contrasta las costumbres de su país con las de España. “Spain is different”, pero no tanto.

      Ese dialogo que mantiene con el autor es un poco irrespetuoso ¿no?: “Pues claro Jonathan ¿qué te pensabas?” “Nos ha jodido”, le repito, hay que tener un poco más de sensibilidad cultural, no todo el mundo se expresa como los españoles.
      Luego tiene un par de comentarios que directamente parecen insultos, el primero a los ingleses: “no te voy a dar mi parecer al respecto de la apariencia de vuestra cristalería sí, como dices, estás en lo cierto. Puedes imaginártelo”. El segundo, destila soberbia y también es un ataque a los ingleses: “Sí amigo Jonathan sí, nos gusta comer sin perder el culo y luego además disfrutar de una buena conversación con el resto de comensales. Nos gusta por eso comer acompañados y sin que nos encorran.”

      Nada más, sólo decirle que por favor tenga más cuidado. Al escribir al autor parece que realmente disfrutó del artículo, pero luego en su propio artículo no se expresa de la forma más cordial. La verdad es que parece muy agresivo, como le he comentado con los ejemplos. En vez de repetir una y otra vez ¡obvio! ¡pues claro! ¡nos ha jodido! ¿no estaría mejor haber aportado más costumbres españolas que se le puedan haber escapado al autor? ¿o quizá uno hablando de otras nacionalidades (eso sí, hablando con propiedad)?

      En el fondo, por muy obvias que parezcan las observaciones, el que escribió el artículo primero fue el señor Jonathan, no un español.

  • Hi Jonathan,

    Don’t pay attention to this kind of people. No sense of humor plus an inferiority complex (unfortunately) has this kind of results.

    I’m from Asturias (living in Germany now), and I have to say that I had a great time reading your article. It’s so funny and soooo true!!! You come to my parents on a weekend and you can observe every single point you wrote there.
    It made me laugh so much, and made me a bit homesick too, hehe. I really miss these big lunches we have in Spain. I’m always telling my german colleagues and friends to try to relax and enjoy the food they’re eating. I find that “las comidas” are such a huge identifier of our culture. ;)
    Looking forward for “Part 2″!!!

  • I thought you article pretty good and close to reality.That’s why I shared it on my businees and private FB page. I have lived in Spain twenty years,also married to a Spanish girl, so more or less have an inkling of customs. I think people missed the humour/irony….and that it is not an attack. Anyone can see you love Spain. Keep up the good work!

  • I thought your article pretty good and close to reality.That’s why I shared it on my business and private FB page. I have lived in Spain twenty years,also married to a Spanish girl, so more or less have an inkling of customs. I think people missed the humour/irony….and that it is not an attack. Anyone can see you love Spain. Keep up the good work!

  • Jonathan, es increíble el nivel de estupidez que se está instalando en este país. Estoy seguro que viene de gente que vive de los estereotipos, no ha viajado jamás o si lo han hecho, no se han tomado ni un minuto para entender lo que veían.

    El artículo ¡era genial!, recuerdo que me reí muchísimo y se lo mandé a amigos españoles y a amigos ingleses, algunos que han vivido aquí y otros que no. Todos nos reímos mucho porque nos reconocimos perfectamente sin complejos idiotas.

    Últimamente no se lee más que comentarios agresivos de gente demasiado “sensible” por todos los periódicos y blogs, es muy, muy desagradable. Quiero pensar que es producto del malestar, la frustración y el enfado por la situación y que se irá con el tiempo.

    De todas formas, creo que no deberías perder ni un minuto nunca más en contestar a gente así, ni en sus comentarios y menos con una entrada en el blog… quien no entienda lo que lee, que se aguante. Tú sigue con lo tuyo.

    ¡Un saludo!

  • Pues a mí tampoco me ha parecido ofensivo, es cierto, no comemos sin pan, ni servilleta, ni agua. Y decir eso no puede ofender a nadie. A mí me ha traído muchos recuerdos, de cuando viví en Irlanda con una familia y ya cuando ponían la mesa colocaban una servilleta en mi sitio, porque sabían que si no me levantaría a por ella. Les hacía mucha gracia que necesitase servilleta y a mí también me llamaba la atención que ellos pudiesen comer sin ella.

  • You absolutely nailed it!! As a Spaniard who has been living in England, Ireland and the Netherlands, I can say that the first time I moved abroad I was somehow surprised that our habits were not international. I must say, I have changed some of them since then!
    Now, living again in my beloved Spain I can see how they point at me and make comments behind my back because we have lunch at 1pm, because I don’t usually buy bread, because I use kitchen roll instead of napkins when needed…
    I could go on for hours!

  • Aupa: es la clásica respuesta española, en vez de aceptar, reconocer, encajar una crítica te saltarán con el: Y TU MÁS. Pasa en política, fútbol, religión, etc

  • Hey dont worry, meneame is by far one of the worse communities in spanish. They dont even read what they comment, all they want is communist manifestos and similar to upvote.

    • Pepito, your comment is in the same way that those from the ridiculous ‘offended patriotic community’. As things are never black or white, you don’t need to charge against ‘meneame’, communists, and what more?.
      Jonathan, your post was simply great! :)

  • Hi from Spain

    There´s people without sense of humour everywhere. After reading your article I don´t feel offended or anything. Of course I don´t agree with the 100% of the ideas you put on it, but I think is a funny and close approach to lunch time in Spain.

    I think the problem here is the low accuracy of automatic translators. I suppose most of the angry people actually understand zero or little English and they read a (bad) translated version.

    By the way, just in case you keep a record on that :-) when I go to a restaurant I love to drink a beer (for lunch) or wine (for dinner)… but I ABSOLUTELY need also water.

    Cheers!

  • La foto encanta no? Gente grasa en la foto jajaja.

    La verdad es que la comida en Inglaterra es una mierda, verdad no? Pero los postre son buenos y depende de lo que comas, para mi la gente es mona aunque formal sí es verdade, pero no he tenido problemas con ellos también y de higiene tampoco. Pero la comida meditarranea es la mejor, eso no hay duda, ahora no se puede generalizar, es que tambien hay muchos españoles que no se limpian, y la cuantidad de perro flautas que hay, nunca he visto tanto como en españa.
    Y no pueden hablar de los ingleses como de superiores, por que los españoles tambien creen que son superiores, cuando hay turistas en españa o cuando van a un pais diferente, quierén que toda la gente hable en español, pues mira coño, habla tu en inglés, y si yo me voy a españa yo hablo en inglés, es la lengua universal, y si un español se vá hasta otro país, habla inglés.

  • I’m sorry to disagree, the best and healthiest food is the Portuguese, based on Mediterranean culture as the spanish. I don’t know why someone spoke in the Japanese food, sushi is good, but they also have a lot of fried food, so depends on what you eat, and in England also depends on what you eat as in Spain.
    Yes most food in England is shit, but tell me a wonderful and unforgettable food that the Spanish have?I haven’t eaten nothing that would impressed me although I like very much the “jamon” and some “quesos” :D. And the wine? Portuguese by far the best from the spanish. so suck it up, no country is better, neither Portugal, it depends in many aspects.

  • A mí me parece un buen artículo. Me gusta mucho.Aunque hay que actualizar lo de comer con el telediario.
    Cuando yo era pequeño teníamos que comer con el telediario porque en mi casa mandaba mi padre. Ahora comemos viendo los Simpson porque en mi casa ahora mandan mis hijos. je, je.
    Please, don’t look at just the bad replies.

  • Well, there’s a spanish saying that goes “De los tuyos hablarás, pero no oirás” :-D

    I found the article – and the rest – really interesting, it’s always funny (and you can learn a lot) to take a look on your environment through the eyes of an ‘outsider’. And I didn’t find it in any way offensive.

    A book you should enjoy is “The Spaniard and the Seven Deadly Sins”, by Fernando Diaz-Plaja, specially the chapter on Pride. In Spain, you can’t even tell a joke about a plumber (or a Barcelonian) without somebody shouting “Hey! I’m a plumber (or a Barcelonian) and you’re offending all of us! And you cannot say that because you (take your pick of ad-hominem-pseudo-reasoning)”.

    Hooooowever… a British talking about gastronomy? Seriously? :-D

    Lotsa hugs

    • He he – loved your comment! As an Englishman, I sometimes wonder how I even dare to work in the food industry. Sometimes I don’t even eat as I feel unqualified to do so.

  • Im spanish and I belive that most of the spanish people who made negative coments towards english people did not understand the article at all. We tend to be on a defensive position in these cases cause I think we always feel like criticised an maybe there is a bit of some inferiorit complex too…
    also a lot of tipical topics like bullfighting, flamenco, ole ole make their part too, cause this does not represent even an 0,01% of the spanish population.
    We cant generalize. Neither Spanish nor English.

  • Y también me gustaría añadir que me ha gustado muho el primer artículo de las costumbres a la hora de comer. 100% verídico!

    Un saludo gente.

  • Hi Jonathan,

    I’m Spanish too and, of course, I didn’t feel offended by your article. Quite the opposite, you made me smile and see our habits with another eyes.

    I was talking yesterday with my Italian teacher and she was shocked because Spaniards share our meals (two desserts for five, I take half of your steak and you take a little of my hake…). It’s really interesting knowing about the foreigners point of view about our culture and habits. It enriches me.

    And as you say.: one thing is the people who disagree and other thing is the angry, disrespectful and narrow-minded people who only know to insult.

    Very good your article and go for a second part! :o)

  • Madre mía, sí que ha dado que hablar un post inofensivo. Bueno, solo espero que, por mucho “españolito” que haya suelto por la red, no penséis que todos los españoles somos así.

    Como española que vive en Inglaterra, he leído este post como creo que se escribió, sin otra intención que la de detallar algunas costumbres curiosas españolas en la mesa. No creo que esté escrito ni con presunción ni con intención de mofarse de los españoles.
    Así que el que lo haya leído como tal quizás debería plantearse volver a secundaria para que le enseñen a identificar la intención del escritor en un texto.

  • Your article was brilliant, I wouldn’t even bother reading/answering the comments from all those people that seem to get offended so easily.

    As a Spanish person that has been living in London for the past 6 years, I can say that I don’t find your article offensive at all. I think that it’s quite funny and most facts are spot on!

  • Jonathan, Don’t pay attention to the criticism, I like your article so much and you are right, in general, those are our habits. I am Spanish living abroad right now and everybody is looking at me in a weird way cause i eat bread with every single meal, even with pasta and rice as you say. And the weekend…I can’t understand why people want to do things at 3 p.m cause at this time I am eating :)

    What you say about the water is also true, I was with a family in Exeter when i was a teenager and we talked also about those differences that you say in your article.

    Thanks for your article, was very funny!!!!!

  • After reading some of the comments from some of my fellow countrymen, I can only say one thing: you Brits beat us Spaniards hands down when it comes to humour!

  • Spanish tend to be on a defensive position when talking about them, even if you are not criticizing. Even if every Spanish criticises and moans about all the bad things in their own country every moment.

    Spanish people like to think they are less than the rest of the countries, except in those cases a foreign person talks about that.

    But those average people that comments just to criticise are the same everywhere in the world. Even in United Kingdom.

  • It was a nice article, that’s all. Making a world because of this, means “people has too much time and little things to think on”. Come on, saying that all English are “pigs” is like assuming that we spanish are all bullfighters….

  • Yo solo puedo decir que a mí me pareció un artículo muy agradable, sobre todo porque desde el primer momento quiso dejar claro que no tenía la intención de ofender a nadie, algo que no hacía ni siquiera falta decir. En segundo lugar, creo que no debería darle mucha importancia a lo que diga un grupo de personas que, de su inseguridad, se toma algo como ofensa cuando no lo es. De hecho yo he visto a muchos amigos compartir su artículo en Facebook, lo que demuestra que la gran mayoría de nosotros aprecia su sentido del humor. ¡Viva España y viva Inglaterra!

    I can only say that I did not feel offended by your article at all: I thought it was refreshing and funny, and even if you didn’t need to, you made it clear that it wasn’t your intention to upset anyone. Apart from that, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to a few people who might be so insecure that they feel offended about nothing. That doesn’t represent the general feeling about your article in Spain because I have found lots of friends sharing it on Facebook. So, Viva España y God save England! :)

  • Otro español más que leyó tu artículo original y se limitó a reírse y reflexionar sobre esas cosas que se hacen “automáticamente” pensando que es “como tiene que ser”… y darse cuenta de que para el resto del mundo son una entera novedad.

    Para que veas, te cito literalmente el email de un amigo que me pasó tu anterior artículo (amigo que lleva años viviendo en Suiza):

    “está en inglés pero las clava todas el cabrón, xDD; aunque algunas como la del pan se comparte con la cultura italiana (quizás no a niveles españoles pero casi).

    Otra que añado yo, y que me toca especialmente las pelotas fuera de españa, es el hecho de brindar. No se en que regiones se hace, pero creo que en zonas de cultura alemana, y 100% seguro en zonas italianas, hay que brindar SIEMPRE. Y por siempre es siempre: te vas a tomar una caña con un amigo de años? a brindar; que se pide otra ronda? a brindar; que hay 15 personas en la mesa? a brindar con todas, y por supuesto mirando fíjamente en los ojos a la gente, de lo contrario es como un insulto. Es su modo de celebrar la amistad o que se yo, en cambio en españa, precisamente cuando hay confianza, no se brinda nunca más que en ocasiones especiales (diré que muy especiales), por lo demás es automático: te llega la cerveza, vino o lo que sea, y a beber a tu bola.

    La de veces que automáticamente le pego un trago a la caña cuando me la traen y hasta te miran mal o te dicen directamente “eh! espera”.

    Y la sobremesa es de escándalo, me acuerdo en el proyecto que hice con la joven de suiza [[se refiere a la “Orquesta Sinfónica Joven”]], que estabamos en un hotel donde ya solo la orquesta eran 100 personas, más otra gente que estaba ahí, pues la única mesa que hacía siempre sobremesa era la nuestra, donde estábamos 3 españoles y los italianos (los italianos no son de sobremesa, que conste)”

    Y mi respuesta:

    “Jajajaja, ¡qué bueno! xD.

    Yo haría un par de matices, pero bueno, en general acierta! jaja.
    Pienso, principalmente, en la bebida. Es cierto que, con la comida, los que tenemos entre 0 y 25 años prácticamente solo bebemos agua, pero de ahí para el norte, y sobre todo de 40 en adelante… es ¡rarísimo que no se beba con vino!
    Y bueno, en navidades, cumpleaños de los “peques”, etc., no falta la botella de cocacola o fanta.

    ——

    Lo de brindar todo el rato pero luego levantarse y no quedarse “talkeando” durante 2 hroas es un sin sentido, jaja. Mucho “formalismo burocrático” pero luego, cuando de verdad se forja la amistad, ¡todos se piran! xD”

  • I read your article and I quite enjoyed it. The whole thing had a tongue-in-cheek tone and intended to open a debate and asked for other opinions, so where’s the problem? Some people are so pissed off with their own lives that they are permanently expecting a chance to snap. And on top of that… this thing “comprensión lectora” is beginning to look like some mythical creature, just impossible to find.

  • The article by Jon was informative, fun and written with good grace and in good taste.
    As for the ignorant, abusive comments left by some Spanish readers…
    1. I have never seen a Spanish chef wash his hands after visiting the toilet.
    2. The standards of personal hygiene in Andalusia are disgusting. No men wash their hands.
    3. You SHOULD wash dishes with hot water
    4. What is this obsession the Spanish leaving comments have with carpets? What do they hate carpets? In winter I miss carpets!
    5. Only people who lead sad lives clean their street and wipe down window railings
    6. Englishman don’t come from Glasgow!
    7. What a pity IRONY never made it to Spain

  • The comments you include in your post above and some of the reactions I read in the comments to the original article only made me think about how small is some people’s world. Your article made me laugh, and though the habits you described were generalizations, the basis was mostly true. I lived in England for a short time, and I have lived in Belgium and now in Germany. I have met people from many places and everyone has habits that at some moment surprise me, however I understand that my own habits are surprising to others. I always tell my children: difference is good, and in the worst of cases, it is just different.

  • Take it as it is, always, for anything you do, will be offended, they can’t avoid it and it’s their problem, not yours.

    Now it was about Spanish dietary customs, it could have been about anything Spanish written by a Brit, period.

    Don’t take account of them bile remarks I would suggest and don’t be surprised either, it’s always going to happen.

    I grew up between Spain and Puerto Rico and find these comparisons funny because I have done them myself countless times and when living in different places you come to realize that there isn’t a single way of doing things, there are ways as cultures, as persons, as regions, etc… a miriad of them and all of them valid.

    Take care and go on.

    :)

    Luis

  • I’m Spanish and I absolutely loved your article. I think it’s really interesting to hear about your habits from people from other countries, because it’s like looking at you from a different point of view, with “borrowed” eyes. I’d never thought about our eatings habits being different before, more than the big amount of food for lunch or the weird time. That’s why I really enjoyed your article, and I’m thankful to you for writing it! There are people who are always ready to feel offended, and it doesn’t matter what you say, they’ll always find some reason to feel that way. Give them the deaf ear and keep writing! Congratulations!

  • Hi, there Jonathan. I am not Spanish, I am Venezuelan, but have lived in UK for several years. I see the world like the Spanish, because of our Spanish heritage. In, Venezuela, we use napkins, have bread at the table, and have sit down meals as often as we can, and ‘sobremesa’, which can end up in anything( another meal, drinking session). I teach Spanish and I have loved your article so much that I will be using the English version to explain what you wanted to say and the version from the newspapers as how they understood the message. It is fascinating, I agree with both, in the sense that it is a cultural thing, (not with the insults, though) every country has different customs and what is right in a situation it is considered wrong/ inappropriate in another, depending where you are. The main thing is not to be offended, I have read all comments and I found very amusing to see the reactions. My husband is British and until I read your comments, I couldn’t make sense of him leaving the table straight after he finishes his food. So a BIG thank you, now I know that he is not rude, it is just how he is. There are other issues regarding the time I spend cleaning and the way and time! how he does it, so thank you. I can say that even thou the house is cleaner when I clean, he has ‘a know-how’ organizing things, seeing the processes through, i cannot explain it, but he sorts of know how to do thing to get the result he wants. I think it is called British Efficiency. Have a lovely day!

  • No llego a entender como algunas personas se han ofendido por tu artículo. A mi me ha parecido que refleja exactamente y con gran sentido del humor las costumbres de los españoles en la mesa. Y por cierto, en Andalucía se come pescadito frito en cucuruchos de papel con las manos, y está bienísimo.

  • juas, juas.

  • that comment, “an englishman from glasgow”…
    you mean a scotsman? duh

  • I’m spanish and I have to say that I enjoyed your article a lot. I laughed while reading, it’s true that we can’t eat without bread or a napkin (I felt surprised when I read about napkins… I thought they were used everywhere the same hahaha). I don’t think you meant to be offensive or something, and I really believe you love my country, it’s only that people here usually missunderstand (or just don’t try to understand) when they hear or read an opinion about their habits. Some of them just want to feel offended, I don’t know why. But they are the ones who have a problem, not you.

  • Touche. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the good
    spirit.