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A Recipe for Introducing Multiculturalism - Literally!

When you think of the sophisticated word, multiculturalism, do you often wonder how to define or even express the concept to your young homeschool students? You can start by saying you took a Multicultural Communications class in college or perhaps confuse them more by having them watch a video on different countries.

Why confuse? Well for starters, the word sounds complicated and second, if kids simply flop in front of a movie screen without understanding how unique and different we all are, this could be interpreted as humor or a time to poke fun at others’ imperfections.

So… how about we actually dig into multiculturalism and begin to experience each country’s fascinating cultures via their flavors and aromas? By tasting and breathing a country’s authentic recipes, your child will not only be fascinated on the idea of an in-house kitchen project, they will later be more receptive to exploring books on different countries, listening to CDs that introduce foreign languages, and digesting video archives with the understanding of different equals cool.

Let’s start with Spain. My family’s roots come from Cuba’s Caribbean splendor and the European charm of Spain; both countries very well known for their cuisine and thrilling tastes. We do not cook with hot spices; instead, we cover our meals with herbs such as saffron, rosemary, and basil.

And garlic? Boy, do we love garlic. In regards to our recipes and the love of cooking, they are passed from one generation to another, versus going online to the Food Network.

Men, women, and all children gather together and enjoy this art. Recipes are golden and if asked politely, they are shared with love; in fact, this is exactly what took place with my mother and I. I asked and received.

Today, I share with all of you our family’s “simple” Chicken Paella recipe, which provides an alternate way of tasting authentic Spanish recipes.

Serves: 6
Difficulty: Intermediate
Preparation time: 60-90 minutes


1/2 pint of oil
1 chicken, cut to 8 pieces
2 bowls of Valencia Rice (1lb. 5 oz. approximately)
5 bowls of meat broth
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 small can of peas
1 small onion
2 tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
Paella Pan

Prep Work:

Start by heating half of the oil and once warm add the cut chicken and let it cook for 15 min. Once it's brown, reserve it in a dish. Add the chopped onion. After 5 minutes, add diced tomatoes, without seeds and peeled. Let it braise about 5 minutes more, mashing the tomatoes with a skimmer. Strain it and throw it in the paella pan.

Add the rest of the oil to the paella pan. Throw the green pepper, cut to square pieces of half inch. Add the fried chicken. Keep stirring with a wooden tablespoon, without letting it go brown. Throw salt, and the meat broth, hot but not boiling. This is completed with the 5 broth bowls.

Shake the paella pan a little taking it by the handles so that it is broth flows all over. All this should be made to medium fire.

Meanwhile, in a mortar mash add a little bit of garlic, the parsley and the saffron, with a little bit of salt so that it doesn't slip, and then wet it with a couple of soup spoonfuls of temperate water. Spill this mixture on the rice and shake again the paella pan.

When the broth has reduced to the half, decorate the paella with the red pepper cut to ribbons, and the peas.

Let it cook about 20 minutes. Once the rice is cooked and the broth has reduced, retire the paella pan from the fire, and place it on a wet cloth, leaving it rest for about 5 minutes. Serve it with some big clusters of lemon without peeling like decoration, and buen provecho.

P.S For more added fun, prior to eating your Spanish cuisine with the family, slip into some Spanish costumes such as the Bull Fighter or the Flamenco Dancer and let the music of España play in the background. ¡Ole!