Eating tapas in Spain serves a dual purpose. One, to eat lunch before the siesta. Two, to converse with friends in a casual setting.
But today’s tapa experience will go down in history as one of the worst lunches ever. I went with four friends to a tapas bar and we decided to order six different tapas. We thought it was slightly less touristy since it was off the beaten path, but needless to say, all the dishes had English translations printed beneath them.
So we ordered a few, two of which had the word huevas. The first dish had the word egg in the English description, so we just figured that they had misspelled the Spanish word huevo (egg). The next one was a fish tapa with hake and we all assumed that hueva was the translation for hake.
All the dishes came out and I decided to be brave and try the hake dish. It was pretty tasteless but the food crumbled into a million little pieces in my mouth. The little parts got stuck between my teeth and I spent the rest of lunch trying to get them out with my tongue. (Gosh, I’m attractive)
And then six words came out of my friend’s mouth:
“I think those were fish eggs.”
Before coming to Spain, I hadn’t eaten fish in 13 years and I never expected to go as far to eat fish eggs. Fearing Haley was correct, I did something else I never thought I’d do in a public place, I grabbed my Spanish-English dictionary.
But the dictionary didn’t give me any more peace of mind. So we called our waiter over and asked him, “What exactly is the hueva? Is it fish eggs?”
“No,” he responded. The relief washed over my body and for just a moment my blood pressure returning into a healthy zone that it hadn’t felt since Haley brought up the words ‘fish eggs.’
“It’s the ovaries of the fish,” our waiter said.
So no, I didn’t eat fish eggs. I ate an entire freaking ovary, filled with little fish eggs.
I thought of Nemo and all his little siblings swimming around in my stomach. I thought of God laughing at me and my fish aversion. Oh, how the non-fish eater has fallen at the feet of baby fish and their reproductive organs.
But I decided to take it in stride. It’s the vida sevillano. And besides, it’s always great to learn new vocabulary words.