MADRID – Spaniards have still not forgotten that the British supermarket chain Tesco sold paella sandwiches years ago. That becomes clear when seeing the furious reactions to a photo posted by the Spanish Guardia Civil.
It was not a very appetising sight, back then. And the timing to cause a stir again now, was right. The photo of the paella sandwich was shown on the day of Spain’s national dish on September 20. The paella sandwich was created ten years ago as a newspaper stunt. But this assault on good taste has been etched in Spanish memory ever since. At the end of 2017, Spanish chefs were already inviting Brits to come to Spain and enjoy a well-prepared real paella.
On September 20, the Guardia Civil tweeted about the curious culinary invention, which they saw as a culinary misstep, albeit with a wink. “What is it #WorldPaellaDay today?… Well, to celebrate with a… but one of the good ones, not the stuff they sell there… The ‘paella sandwich’ is heresy to some, to others, it destroys good taste and still, others think it can threaten health. We will consider complaints about this”.
In recent years, the British understanding of cooking has repeatedly caused speechlessness and criticism in Spain. For example, when star chef Jamie Oliver once mixed chorizo sausage into a paella, people in Spain were quite shocked and saw this expression of the chef’s creativity as sacrilege.
In 2018 it was the turn of new vegan milk made according to African tradition with tiger nuts. British supermarket chain Morrison’s invention reminded Spanish foodies too much of ‘horchata’. The ancient Valencian vegan milk was made from chufas (almonds), water and sugar. Horchata is mainly drunk during the merienda, the small meal that Spaniards eat between lunch and dinner around six o’clock.
And then there was the example of British ‘cheesy churros’ for sale in Gibraltar. Churros are Spanish dough pieces that are served deep-fried and dipped in coffee, hot chocolate or sugar for breakfast or with the merienda. However, the British cheese-flavoured churros, come with a red pepper sauce for dipping and are made from mashed potatoes with cheese.
Paella is a typical Spanish rice dish that originates from the Valencia region. A lot of rice is grown in this region. The dish consists of rice with vegetables, chicken, meat and seafood and has been prepared by shepherds and farmers since the 15th century with products from the land. Later there was also a variant with fish and other ingredients.