SPAIN: Some food – 1

Some really good food was consumed in Spain. I was pretty busy and not posting a great deal during the trip so here are some highlights.

Little marinated shrimps.


Iberico ham with the usual tomato smeared bread.






Sopa castellana.


Chicken and morels.


Figuera.  Yes, there was paella too!


How many types of olives are there in Spain, anyway?  They are all great.





Fried peppers.



Peppers and eggplant… again.  Lots of eggplant.



No eggplant on this one.


Razor clams… yum.  Grilled… double yum.


I don’t know what the dressing was on this (that’s tuna) but it was fantastic.



Calamari and squid ink dipping sauce.  That’s a very large gin and tonic… the plural of which is…?


Okay, I might need to make another post.


In Avila.




What is the plural of the adult beverage made from gin mixed with tonic water?

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Okay… that did it.

Refreshing on a hot, humid day.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Gregg the Obscure says:

    The proper plural of “large Gin and Tonic” is happy hour.

  2. Thom says:

    The food in Spain is so amazingly good that my wife suggested that a book about our Camino could plausibly be subtitled “Eating Our Way Across Spain”.

    And the plural you seek is, I believe “gins and tonic”.

  3. vandalia says:

    The plural of “gin and tonic” is “gin and tonic”:
    I am having a “gin and tonic.”
    I had several “gin and tonic.”
    A group of us were having “gin and tonic.”

    Now my question. I figure it is better to look like an idiot when no one knows what you look like. Are you really supposed to eat those sucker things when an octopus is being served? Or eat around them? Or are they removed when it is cleaned?

  4. Kerry says:

    The plural of Gin and Tonic is “Otra ginebra y tonica por favor”.

  5. acardnal says:

    What did you think of the Spanish wine?

    [Frankly, I was not terribly impressed. We had a couple good whites and a decent red or two and a good rosado. All in all they all left me wanting more from them. I even spoke with restaurant staff about wines, to get recommendations in the regions we visited. I tried.]

  6. Elizabeth D says:

    FATHER! Bring me back something from Avila? A St Teresa cookie cutter would be awesome! i would use it! It is probably sacrilegious to bite St Teresa’s head off though. I got a St Teresa 500 years centenary coffee mug with “Nada te turbe” on eBay recently for a good bargain. I do not expect I will ever get to travel to Europe but that is one place I would like to go.

    I have an eggplant that I found Tuesday on top of a recycle bin across the street from the St Vincent de Paul store on Williamson Street, near the Willy Street Coop. I am sure I will make it into baked eggplant fries. My diet involves rather a lot of “found food”. Recently a homeless friend Dave gave me some bananas he had been carrying around with him in his backpack, the least mushy ones I am freezing to make smoothies and the very mushy ones I immediately turned into banana bread. I baked some salmon on Corpus Christi that I found frozen in a dumpster, that was very tasty. I put some lemon juice, dill, garlic, mayonnaise, sour cream, and kosher salt on it to bake (the kosher salt was actually from the very same dumpster as I recall). Not the most delicate way to prepare salmon, I think that was the recipe I had come up with on a previous occasion when I had some dumpster tilapia, but plenty good to me. I found some more tilapia in a dumpster recently and maybe will have to get creative and come up with a fish taco recipe or something. I cannot remember ever buying fish fillets, I just find them occasionally or once in a while for some reason someone will give me some.

  7. yatzer says:

    Everything looks so good, except eating things with tentacles just doesn’t work for me The paella I got in Barcelona looked very much like your photo. I just couldn’t get by the black tentacles curling up out of the pan like some sort of evil that had been mixed in by mistake.

  8. SpanishCatholic says:

    Ah the food in Spain is outstanding!! My mouth is watering just thinking if these delicious meals. I can’t wait until my next trip back hopefully in a year or two. Last I was there was in 2014; how are things looking over there regarding the migrant crisis? I hear so many horror stories out of France, Italy and Greece. I’ve heard Cueta ans Melilla are practically front lines. I fear for the land of my forefathers and for my dream of retiring to a little ranch in Navarra to grow some food, make some wine and walk the same paths as countless previous generations of my family.

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    If I may barge in (under correction!), yes, the suckers are delicious (and, since they work mechanically, you can sometimes play with them before eating them, if you’re the sort of person who still plays with food…) – though I watch out for the mouths (with beaks!), as not all cooks discard them in cleaning and preparing (and I’m not sure in which cephalopod species they’re poisonous as well as sharp)! Also, watch out if you’re allergic to shellfish (as sometimes they will have eaten some recently and somehow pass on the allergens). (In some cultures, they eat live little cephalopods – sushi on the tentacle, as it were – but that’s too cruel and creepy for me!)

  10. NBW says:

    It all looks very wonderful Fr. Z.!

  11. YorkshireStudent says:

    Usually I’d say ‘gins and tonic’ as the plural (like courts martial), but that could also just describe the practice of having two measures of gin in one glass with tonic – which is only one gin and tonic.

    To avoid confusion, and to ensure you get a full four measures of gin, I would say ‘gin and tonics’. Obviously, if this leads to you being served one measure of gin and two bottles of tonic, you may need a different phrase or a different bar.

  12. Matthew Gaul says:

    I would be inclined to hyphenate the plural, and therefore pluralize the final word – “gin-and-tonics.”

    Idiosyncratic? Perhaps. Or maybe the next evolution in plurals. :-)

  13. robtbrown says:

    My memory of Spanish octopus is from the evening tapas–Quarter sized slices of tentacles marinated in vinegar.

    Incidentally, an old friend who became a priest spent a year teaching in Spain in the mid 70’s before opting to seminary, having previously spent a year in France 3 post ordination years studying in Rome. He has always maintained Spain as his favorite, a bit of a combination of Italy and France.

  14. SanSan says:

    The plural of Gin and Tonic is “too much”. :)

  15. The Masked Chicken says:

    From a chemical point of view, the correct answer is gin-and-tonic. Gin-and-tonic is a homogeneous mixture and is, therefore, treated as a unit. Most compound units add an s at the end, but there are irregular cases, as well. I know what the dictionary says, but I want to argue that they are wrong.

    Regardless of what a dictionary or multiple sites on the Internet might say, if one says gins-and-tonic, this might ambiguously imply either multiple drinks of gin-and-tonic or simply one or more drinks with extra gin; likewise, if one says gin-and-tonics, it is ambiguous whether or not it means multiple drinks of gin-and-tonic or one or more drinks with extra tonic. This, of course, implies that there is a standard fixed ratio of gin-to-tonic.

    From an English-usage standpoint, it turns out that in America, one should say gin-and-tonics and in Mediterranean countries one should say say gins-and-tonic, but, chemically, it should be gin-and-tonic. Excedrin is a mixture of aspirin and caffeine. Is it proper to say, “I took two Excedrin,” or, “I took two Excedrins?” Both usages might be specified in the dictionary (see, aspirin, plural), but, chemically, it males no sense to say, “I took two aspirin and caffeines, because it is ambiguous and chemical nomenclature should be, where possible, unambiguous.

    Thus, if you consider gin-and-tonic to be a chemical mixture, then avoid ambiguity and use gin-and-tonic throughout. The number attached to it will modify the gin-and-tonic amount adequately.

    Oh, by the way, Fr. Z’s earlier discussion of the plural of gin-and-tonic was cited not only at a blog:

    but that blog post was picked up by Grammar Cop:

    Of course, gin-and-tonic is preferred chemically – at least I think it should be – because, as I say, it is unambiguous. There is no such thing as a gin-and-tonic, anyways. This is short for a gin-and-tonic drink or a drink made of gin-and-tonic. Thus, the plural, if one is to use one, should be gin-and-tonic drinks or drinks of gin-and-tonic.

    The Chicken

  16. Nan says:

    I found this post very inspiring and have since obtained the components of gin and tonic, which, as everyone knows, is medicinal, warding off both malaria and scurvy.

  17. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    To beat around the cinchona bush awhile, I wonder if usage has varied over time (like with ‘the King’s horse of England’ and ‘the King of England’s horse’)? And presume the same question arises with brandy and soda, whisky and soda, whisky and water, whisky and ginger ale, rum and Coca Cola,… and what of whisky on the rocks? Does going to initials at all alter the situation – G&T, B&S – is it somehow more easily G&Ts, or just as much a question of, Gs&T?

    One could continually have recourse to circumlocution: ‘How many a G&T have you had?’ ‘Three (but who’s counting?)’

    The Masked Chicken’s chemical analysis might make them an uncountable it: ‘How much gin and tonic have you had?’ ‘Oodlesh!’ His note of its adjectival character, raises the question, with what noun(s), historically, or of preference? Drinks, cocktails, highballs, doses, units,…?

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    I thought I once read or heard that ‘they’ sometimes (usually?) ‘did something’ to the quinine in tonic water to make it medicinally ineffective, but all I can easily find is Wikipedia’s “Since it is no longer used as an antimalarial, tonic water today contains much less quinine, is usually sweetened, and is consequently much less bitter.” And note the warning taken over from a 2004 study, “This method of consumption of quinine was impractical for malaria prophylaxis, as the amount of drug needed ‘can not be maintained with even large amounts of tonic’.”

    There also seems to be interesting debate or at least variety, as to the scurvy-waring ingredient. (Even including, “Some people garnish a Beefeater-based gin and tonic with a slice of orange, to complement the Seville oranges Beefeater uses in its botanicals.”)

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    “The Masked Chicken’s chemical analysis might make them an uncountable it: ‘How much gin and tonic have you had?’ ‘Oodlesh!’ His note of its adjectival character, raises the question, with what noun(s), historically, or of preference? Drinks, cocktails, highballs, doses, units,…?”

    One is, properly, talking about units of drinks. Drinks may have many different compositions. Thus, one may say, I had two drinks of fruit punch, but two fruit punches is a bit ambiguous. Assuming that the composition of a particular drink is known, one does not, usually, at least chemically, describe the amount by a particular part of the composition, but by the aggregate unit by which it is dispensed. The use of things like whiskies or gin-and-tonics is colloquial short-hand for drink units. It is lazy language and leads to these bizarre pluralization questions.

    Does one say, I had two ball-and chains? How many individual components are in that mix – 1 ball and 2 chains, two balls and two chains? It is ambiguous. We have the same problem with metric units. How does one pronounce 10 m^3? Many people say 10 meters cubed, but that is ambiguous, because when you say that, one person could be thinking, (10 m)^3, while another person could be thinking, 10 m^3. The first unit is 1000 bigger than the second unit. This really is the classic definition of ambiguity. That is why we specify the number, first – 10 cubic meters, so that it is clear that the cubic term only modifies meters and not the numerical value.

    If society wants to agree that two ball-and-chains refers to two of the collective unit, then that is their prerogative, but in science we almost never go from the more specific designator to the less specific, if we want to be precise.

    The Chicken

  20. John Nolan says:

    If I ask for two gin and tonics in a pub I will get two glasses with a single measure (25ml) of gin in each and two small bottles of tonic (‘babies’ or the somewhat larger ‘splits’, either of which will be ridiculously overpriced).

    Were I to order two gins and tonic the barperson would assume that I wanted only one bottle of tonic to share between the two gins and would confirm this by asking ‘just the one tonic, Sir?’

    ‘Two gins and tonics’ would produce the same result as asking for ‘two gin and tonics’ but would sound non-colloquial.

  21. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Meanwhile, let us pity the modernist composers. They order a gin and atonic.

  22. hilltop says:

    THE plural of Gin and Tonic is “Gin and Tonics”
    “Gins and Tonic” indicates a variety of gins mixed with tonic.
    “Gin and Tonic” as the plural of “Gin and Tonic” cannot work because the plural of Gin is “Gins” and the plural of Tonic is “Tonics”. That would yield “Gins and Tonics” which when spoken makes one sound as if one has had one too many “Gin and Tonics”!

  23. Nicolas Bellord says:

    My mother always maintained that gin and tonic was not a suitable drink for young girls because of the quinine in the tonic.

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Perhaps the St. Gotthard tunnel dignitaries and their entertainers had had took much gin and chthonic.

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