Today I invite you to virtually peek into my parents’ house to explain a very extremeño concept in our houses–the salita.
Let me start by explaining what a salita is not.
It’s not a living room or a sitting room, because it’s not big enough to accommodate guests. Here you won’t find several sofas, armchairs and a coffee table.
It’s not a dining room, because it doesn’t have a ‘proper’ dining table for six.
These two concepts are normally combined in an extremeño house in the salón, the room with living and dining areas.
Then, what is it?
The word ‘salita’ is the diminutive of ‘sala’, which means ‘room’. They are normally little more than office-size rooms. Here we have breakfast, lunch and dinner, and here we watch tv or chat. Don’t think this is just something for oldies. People of all ages have salitas with heated tables.
A classic salita has the following elements: a sideboard or a slightly bigger piece of furniture, a heated table (dedicated blog post here) and chairs or a sofa. The tv is normally way smaller than the one in the living room.
In short, it’s a small room for family everyday use and you don’t invite guests for dinner or drinks here. When you have guests you receive them and entertain them in the living room. As far as meals are concerned, you only use the dining table in the living room when you have guests over.
I know what you are thinking. Why would a family all cram in a small room instead of using the living room? To be honest, I can’t really answer that question, but only guess. And my guess is that, put simply, a heated table doesn’t look great in a living room. As a house in Extremadura isn’t complete without a heated table, we came up with the idea of this little room to accommodate our beloved mesa camilla.
Salitas can be really crammed, indeed. I remember many family gatherings of 23 people at my grandparents’ when I was a child. We wouldn’t eat in their big living room. Instead, we would take turns to eat around the heated table in the salita. Grandchildren first and adults afterwards. That way, we would go play outside in the street while our parents enjoyed the meal with no children messing around. Well played…
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