Category Archives: Spain

Luxury food

paella

I often ask my students, when teaching on the topic of culture, if, in their opinion, paella started originally as a dish of the poor or the rich. Having seen paella as one of the most expensive options on the menus of expensive restaurants, they usually say that paella must have been an invention for the table of the wealthy. After all, shrimp and clams, mandatory for paella, are deluxe ingredients.

But not when the dish was first created. Fish and seafood in general was cheap food, since it didn’t need land to be farmed. It grew free and plentiful, with just labor necessary to be harvested – and that was cheap. In fact, paella is based on the concept of “small pieces of different meats and veggies, combined with rice”, which in practice means “any kind of meat, mixed together in rice”:  the perfect way to use leftovers. In most cases, paella was the Spanish casserole in which leftovers from yesterday or from the master’s table were put together to make a hearty meal. Continue reading

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Codex Calixtinus, or the tourist guide for pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela

Codex Calixtinus, the precious 12th century guide for pilgrims heading towards Santiago de Compostela,  was stolen yesterday from the Cathedral of that Spanish town. Since Santiago (Saint James) had a very influential cult in the Middle Ages, his alleged tomb in Compostela became an extremely popular pilgrimage site for people from all over Europe – in fact, the third most important one after Jerusalem and Rome. Streams of devout people came walking (there were no cars or bikes back then!) the Way of Saint James  all the way from France, Italy, Poland,  Hungary to ask the Saint for a favor or as a penance. Quite a feat. Continue reading

Blogs for Spanish teachers

blogs

If you are a language teacher, you are most probably a passionate ambassador of the culture you represent to your students, in the classroom and outside. But even though Spanish is so ubiquitous in the USA and resources are abundant, Spanish and bilingual teachers often say they don’t have the time to stay connected with the language and culture they love. Just the research about news, keeping up with current events and cultural information can be time consuming.

If you are someone interested in Spanish, Latin American and US Latino culture, here are three other blogs I write that will help you stay in touch and learn more. And they save you time researching about literature, cinema and art of the Spanish-speaking world. Posts are monthly and discuss films, art and newly published and classic stories, poems and also children’s books by Spanish-speaking authors. Continue reading

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

I recently had the chance to see a 1973 film which I had been long looking for, The Spirit of the Beehive by Victor Erice. I recommend it to every fan of last year’s Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro).

Continue reading