[Sca-cooks] Tapas

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Thu Jul 30 06:57:12 PDT 2009

The online OED (copyright 2009) that I have access to says for tapa:
Usu. /pl./ In Spanish bars or cafés, a savoury snack or hors d'oeuvre of
sausage, cured ham, seafood, potato salad, etc., typically served with
glasses of wine or sherry.

The slices of sausage, etc., were originally put on top of the glasses
as ‘lids’.

The earliest quotation reads:

*1953* C. SALTER  /Introducing Spain/ iv. 36,

I should like to draw attention to..the
admirable habit of the ‘tapa’. In Spain, when you order a drink in a
bar.., you will always be given..something to eat.

The Spanish dictionaries seem to indicate that it means a lid.


Terry Decker wrote:

> In that case, recipes are immaterial and the determination of the 
> history of tapas is based on the word usage. To determine the history, 
> ignore the apochrypha and concentrate on the actual usage, which is 
> not easily located in English translation. At least I haven't been 
> able to find it.
> While tapas has moved into English (well, Amurican), the word does not 
> appear in my copy of the OED. A quick ref dictionary, gives no usage, 
> but says that the word derives from the Spanish for "cap" and is of 
> Germanic origin. If that is correct, then the original word is likely 
> "die Kappe." Should the Germanic origin be correct, it likely places 
> the linguistic transfer prior to 1700.
> Bear
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