The Guardian ran a series of reports on the New Europe last year. Correspondents spent a few days with a typical family in Germany, for example, or Spain, and wrote up their experiences. No experience was complete without food, as in this instance by Kira Cochrane:
We start with a small dish (tapa) known as fideua, which consists of short noodles, fried by Martiño (he's a keen cook and takes a regular class on a Saturday morning). These are then boiled in a fish broth, and baked in the oven, where they pop up like fresh blades of grass. To follow is a delicious black-ink paella, and then the traditional Catalonian dessert brought by Eva – almonds, hazelnuts, sultanas and dried figs. Miguel's best friend, Leo, a German writer and teacher, arrives as midnight approaches, and the group keep Spanish hours, drinking sweet wine and whisky into the night, and arguing over politics, in anticipation of a relaxed nine o'clock start the next morning.