This isn’t about who invented bar snacks, or about why one particular gibber of Catalan nationalism should want to deny having invented them.
Someone speculated drunkenly last night that, since tapas appears in English from the 1950s (C Salter in OED, “In Spain, when you order a drink in a bar.., you will always be given..something to eat.”), it may have been part of the lexical cloud conjured as the Franco government commercialised Hemingway’s message, that Spain is different.
The rise of Spanish tourism and the appearance and generalisation of the phrase tapas bar/bar de tapas are linked, but I suspect that tapas made their way into standard Spanish several decades earlier–as part of the reinvention of the Spanish nation around Andalusian stereotypes devised by confused and dangerous racialists like Lorca during the transition from Azorín’s post-Cuba rediscovery of Castile to Jaime de Andrade‘s famous Crusade. The Royal Academy’s dictionary first mentions tapa in this sense in 1936:
8. And. Ruedas de embutido o lonjas finas de jamón que sirven en los colmados, tabernas, etc., colocadas sobre las cañas y chatos de vino.
In 1970 it adds:
Hoy se da este nombre a pequeñas porciones de algunos manjares que se sirven aparte de la bebida.
In 1984, after careful consideration, that drink is declared to be alcoholic.
It would be interesting to know more about the history of the RAE dictionary. The 1936 edition includes new regionalisms and esotericisms (eg “homosexual. adj. Sodomita”) but I don’t know whether in numbers exceptional enough to suggest that gay Andalusians had stormed the lexical establishment, whether via the back or the front door.
- Ser catalá és treballar dur i amb les idees clares
Being Catalan apparently means working hard without thinking very much, but where does that leave us?
- DCVB gives Spanish equivalents not yet accepted by RAE
The Catalan-Valencian-Balearic dictionary helpfully gives Spanish equivalents: RESSALAR v. tr. Tornar salar; salar excessivament; cast. resalar. … that sometimes haven’t yet made it into
- Spain, a nation of whores, soldiers and fools?
Spanish entries from the 1811 Dictionary of the vulgar tongue, with some fanciful etymological speculation and a mercifully brief bout of
- Bread made of Catalan woman
Someone once told the English that “tapas bar” was Spanish for “exotic chav drinking hole”. El Sabio in Winchester has taken
Jaume Fabre of La Vanguardia has spent his summer discovering what everyone else who had encountered the Real Academia Española already