I hate tapas. Mezze. Small Plates.
I know small plates are all the rage — the restaurants are new, trendy, hip, expensive. You feel sophisticated with your many little plates.
But friends, I don’t like small over-priced plates of food. And I won’t apologize.
Tapas require too much compromise. Usually four or more people must pick dishes they’ll all enjoy. Except there’s nothing that everyone at the table wants. And so begins the dance. How do you feel about the calamari? I don’t eat seafood, but that’s fine, go ahead. Are people good with the tuna tartare? Oh, sure, if that’s what you’d like. What about the goat cheese croquettes with red pepper coulis? Ummm… yeah, as long as we can get the veal meatballs.
No one’s happy. But no one can say they’re not happy. Because it’s tapas. And tapas are about compromise and self-denial.
Think about it. The table places its order. But you only want to eat some of what’s coming. It arrives and you take your small tasting bite of your preferred dishes. You wait for other people to take theirs. You munch on bread. You hope there will be extra of your desired item. There will be one bite left. Does anybody want the last Brussels sprout with orange-maple glaze? Oh go ahead. Phew. Do you want to split it? Your heart sinks. Sure!
Which brings me to my most important point — tapas are anti-feminist.
Think about it.
Tapas favor assertive personalities who aren’t afraid to take what they want. Tapas favor the person at the table who grabs the last bite — who doesn’t ask permission. But women aren’t socialized to take. We’re socialized to give, to put others’ needs ahead of our own, to sacrifice.
So we don’t ask for what we want. We don’t take what we deserve. We watch our boyfriends eat that last bite of roasted organic rack of lamb.
And we wipe up the sauce with a scrap of bread.