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JP: Welcome everyone to All About Spanish lesson, number 7. My name is JP and I’m here with Fernando.
Fernando: Hello everyone.
JP: Hey Fernando. So this is one of my favorite topics today…
Fernando: Tell me about it…
JP: [Laughter] He’s lookin’ at my belly. But I don’t mind, I like food, Fernando. Unlike the skinny people over here in the studio…
Fernando: [Laughter] Who are you talking about?
JP: I don’t know… But there’s definitely a lot to talk about when we mention food of the Spanish speaking world, right?
Fernando: Yes, absolutely, we can go from high-end to simple, basic, beautiful organic food.
JP: And we’re talking about a huge geographical area. We’re talking about Spain (where they also speak Spanish); North America (like Mexico); all the way south to the tip of Argentina.
Fernando: Yes, la patagonoia…
JP: All of those regions have different cuisines. And some of them are spectacular!
Fernando: They are!
JP: Ok, so I don’t know about you but my favorite food of Latin America is Mexican.
Fernando: I agree with you…
JP: There seems to be a huge diversity of cooking and of ingredients in Mexico; it’s just a delicious place to eat.
Fernando: It is a unique place to eat where maiz, fish, meat, they all converge to make delicious cuisine.
JP: Allright, I know here in New York Spanish cuisine and Peruvian cuisine are totally in fashion right now.
Fernando: Yes, that is true, actually, and you’ve touched on two countries that have a couple of my favorite dishes:
JP: Oh yeah?
Fernando: Yeah. Perú, world-renowned for their ceviche, and of course Spain, known for their amazing paella.
JP: Now we’re gonna talk about that later in the podcast. You’re gonna give us your five must-tried dishes, right?
Fernando: Absolutely.
JP: Now before we do that, I wanna talk a little about table etiquette in the Spanish speaking world whether eating at a restaurant, or if you’re eating at somebody’s house like with a home-stay (when I was in Guatemala I stayed in a home-stay.) There are definitely things you need to know when you sit down at that table, right?
Fernando: Yes, there are a cultural niceties that are observed when eating in the Spanish speaking world… So if you’re eating at a private home at your aunt’s or at your friend’s family place, it’s custom to wait for the owner of the house to begin eating…
JP: Ok…
Fernando: … Before everyone starts.
JP: So once they put food in their mouth then you can start eating yourself…
Fernando: Right. So, more often than not, the beginning of a meal will be signaled by someone saying provecho. Or buen provecho.
JP: Provecho… Buen provecho… What does this mean?
Fernando: This is basically the spanish equivalent of “enjoy your meal” or “bon appetit”.
JP: Ok…
Fernando: So the appropriate response is “Gracias” or “Igualmente”, or you can repeat what they said…
JP: Which is buen provecho.
Fernando: Exactly.
JP: Ok, if ten people are sitting around the table, one person’s gonna say “Buen provecho”, and everybody else is going to say “Gracias”, “Buen provecho”, “Igualmente”…
Fernando: Yes.
JP: And then you can eat.
Fernando: And then you can eat, yes. However, in Guatemala, the custom is reversed…
JP: Yes! I learned this the hard way.
Fernando: Well tell me about that!
JP: Ok, when we started eating in Guatemala I would say “Buen provecho” and they’d say “Mmm-hmmm…” and then we’d all eat, and when everybody was done with the meal somebody would say “Gracias” and then everyone would say “Buen provecho.”
Fernando: [break] That’s interesting.
JP: Yeah, I was totally like, “Wow, I should write a paper about this.”
Fernando: Yes, yes. It’s true.
JP: [Laughter] But in Mexico it’s the other way, right; you say “Buen provecho” at the beginning.
Fernando: Yes, exactly.
JP: I think that’s the standard for most of the Spanish speaking world.
Fernando: I think so too.
JP: Ok, so that’s an important tip. Do you have another tip for us?
Fernando: Well, actually it’s very customary in Spanish speaking countries, after you’re done with dinner (or a meal), there is the ‘sobremesa’.
JP: La sobremesa…
Fernando: Yes. The sobremesa basically entails having coffee, extending the conversation, extending the person’s stay. So this is a perfect opportunity for language learners to experience and participate in real Spanish conversations in an intimate setting.
JP: So when you’re done eating you stay at that table…
Fernando: You stay at the table, yes.
JP: You don’t get up and say, “Can I be excused?,” and run away.
Fernando: That’s correct; you don’t get up and run away.
JP: Ok. Now how long does that sobremesa usually last?
Fernando: It can last a lifetime (for some.)
JP: [Laughter] It can?
Fernando: It can.
JP: You feel like you’re sitting there forever.
Fernando: But that’s the beauty of it because you’re having great conversation with great people. So there’s a reason to stay there. Obviously you’ll be offered a coffee, or digestif, or whatever… You’ll have cake, dessert… There are a few perks of staying at the sobremesa, definitely.
JP: Ok. And you know what? That’s where I learned a lot of my Spanish.
Fernando: Well there you go!
JP: Just hanging out and being polite with people.
Fernando: That’s where I learned to be polite, actually.
JP: Ok, at the table…. Allright Fernando, why don’t you give us your five must-try dishes from the Spanish speaking world.
Fernando: Absolutely. Representing Argentina, el churrasco.
JP: El churrasco.
Fernando: Yes. Churrasco is used all over Latin America to refer to grilled meat. And Argentinians are known for their love of grilling.
JP: They’re always, always bragging about their meat, right? Their beef.
Fernando: Their ‘bife’… Yes, exactly. In Argentina churrasco refers to a grilled cut of skirt steak, accompanied by chimichurri which is a dressing of vinegar, oil, parsley, garlic and red pepper flakes or paprika… It can vary.
JP: So chimichurri… That’s kind of like the Argentinian version of pesto.
F0: Exactly. And it’s not spicy, it just gives it a nice tingly taste. It’s delicious. It goes well with almost anything, actually.
JP: When’s the last time you had churrasco?
Fernando: Too long ago.
JP: How about a dish from one of the Caribbean nations?
Fernando: El mofongo. From Puerto Rico (Puelto Lico)
JP: [Laughter] Ok, so what is ‘el mofongo’?
Fernando: Well, if you’ve never tried this dish of fried plantains and pork grind, you may find it exotic. But, at the same time very, very comforting.
JP: You know, I’m a big fan of pork grinds and plantains, actually.
Fernando: These two items go together deliciously… You also flavor it with garlic and olive oil. Mofongo can be stuffed with vegetables, meats, seafood, and is often served with bits of fried bacon and chicken broth. Anyways, so now that we’re on Puerto Rico, let me tell you about this other item which is ceviche.
JP: But that’s not from Puerto Rico.
Fernando: It’s not from Puerto Rico, but it’s from another country that starts with a P. Peru. Now ceviche itself is a way of curing seafood in citrus juice rather than cooking it in heat.
JP: Oh, ok. Now this kind of spooks some people, but it’s not cooked over fire… It’s just cured.
Fernando: There are variations of ceviche you can find Mexico, Perú, Colombia…
JP: So why do we say it’s Peruvian?
Fernando: It’s how they make it. In Perú , ceviche is served with slices of cooked sweet potato and the juice from the ceviche marinade as an appetizer.
JP: So they drain out the juice…
Fernando: And they drain out the juice which is called leche de tigre.
JP: Ok, leche de tigre is like tiger milk. And they give it to you like at the beginning when you sit down at the restaurant. You order ceviche, they bring out the shot of leche de tigre, you do the shot and are like, “Ooohh, this is delicious!” And then later on the ceviche comes.
Fernando: It opens up your appetite. It is absolutely wonderful.
JP: Do you have a ceviche recipe?
Fernando: I do have a ceviche recipe, but if I were to share it right now, I would probably be eating my arm afterwards… I am very hungry.
JP: [Laughter] Why don’t we move on to your next favorite must-eat dish.
Fernando: Paella.
JP: Ok, this is obviously from Spain.
Fernando: So it’s the short grained rice dish prepared in an open pan…
JP: The big ‘paellera’. It’s like a wok but flatter.
Fernando: Exactly. And bigger… There are paella contests throughout the world. It is wonderful. If you have the opportunity, go to one. You will not be disappointed.
JP: Now the one we all know about is the paella valenciana, from Valencia. It’s got that saffron rice (that yellow color), and there’s meat, and vegetables, and seafood. They put escargot in it and sometimes they put camarones (the prauns)…
Fernando: Yeah, it varies from region to region. But you can imagine meat, seafood, chicken… It’s just wonderful. I mean, we’re talking about great diversity, which actually represents the diversity in Spain.
JP: That’s true. Now I had some friends that threw me a ‘paellada’ as a going-away party the last time I moved, and the paella they made was very different from the one you usually see in the restaurant. They were basque people and they made it with a bunch of seafood, you know, like clams and mussels… Oh, it was so good.
Fernando: Oh, that sounds delicious; I bet it was…
JP: It really was. Ok, you’ve got one more must-eat dish, right?
Fernando: And this one is for all of us Mexicans..
JP: [Laughter] How could I have guessed this that this was going to be Mexican?
Fernando: I wish there was just one… I’m only asking for one place in New York that could have tacos al pastor... Oh my god, it is delicious.
JP: So this is when you see the rotisserie, you know, like sometimes you see gyros on a rotisserie or shwarma…
Fernando: And it’s very typical; it’s very accessible. You’ll see it on almost every corner, and you’ll see it in restaurants, and taquerías… It is just amazing.
JP: Right, and it’s always pork, and on top of the big pork rotisserie there’s always a pineapple, right? And they slice off that pineapple and it falls into your taco…
Fernando: That is correct… If you haven’t had an opportunity to see how a taco al pastor is prepared, do it.
JP: Yeah, go to youtube right now and look up tacos al pastor! Ok, so the pork, the pineapple, they go into the soft tortillita…
Fernando: You can douse it with any of the salsas that you have available.
JP: This is very simple street food but for some reason it’s like a revelation when people first try tacos al pastor… And they’re cheap!
FO: They are, they are… I think the lime juice you squirt onto the tacos is more expensive than paying for a taco.
JP: Now I know when I was a teacher and I took students to Mexico they would want three tacos al pastor, and order three, and of course they’d get nine. Because there’s three tacos al pastor in an order.
Fernando: Yeah, and that’s basically how you want it to happen. You will proabbly want to order fifteen just for the next day… It is so delicious… I am dying of hunger!
JP: Fernando has to get out of here because he is sweating he’s so hungry at this point. So thanks for listening to All About Spanish 7. We’ll be back in the next podcast with All About Spanish 8. It’s time to go. Hasta luego.
Fernando: Bye-bye.

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SpanishPod101.com
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
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¡Hola a todos!

Do you have a favorite cuisine from the Spanish speaking world?  The most famous are Mexican, Spanish, and Peruvian cuisines... Peruvian happens to be very "in" at the moment...  Argentinian and Carribean cuisines are also gaining in popularity. Other cuisines, like Salvadoran, Ecuadoran, Venezuelan, and Colombian are also represented in US cities where those immigrant communities are present. 

I happen to like them all, so it's hard to pick a favorite... but I favor the cuisines with long traditions.  Mexican and Peruvian cusines seem to be the most complex and varied, heavily influenced by pre-Colombian traditions (the Aztecs and Maya in Mexico; the Inca in Peru).  Spanish cuisine also has a long and complex history.  The northeast of Spain (Catalonia and the Basque Country) is also the epicenter of the "molecular gastronomy" movement.

¡Buen provecho! 
jp@spanishpod101.com

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SpanishPod101.com
Saturday at 12:28 pm
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Hola Jim,


Depends in you, and what can of flavors do you like. But don't worry, search for a latin american or Spanish restaurant near you and try it!

Be careful! It can be a little spicy.


Espero te guste.

Carla

Team SpanishPod101.com

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Jim
Thursday at 3:31 am
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Hola, soy vegetariano. ¿Va a ser difícil para mí para comer en un restaurant si viajo a España o América Latina?


(Hi, I am a vegetarian. Will it be hard for me to eat at a restaurant if I travel to Spain or Latin America?)

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SpanishPod101.com
Saturday at 3:33 pm
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Hola Wout,


Not that popular, it's a Spanish dish.

You may find it in restaurant but not in every day cooking.


Saludos,

Carla

Team SpanishPod101.com

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wout
Thursday at 4:32 am
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how popular is Paëlla in mid- /south America?

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SpanishPod101.com
Sunday at 11:16 am
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Hola Jane,


Thank you for your comment!

Maybe they have a different name in Santo Domingo for "sobremesa" though is known every where in Latino America like this.


Suerte,

Carla

Team SpanishPod101.com

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Jane de Vries
Friday at 12:45 pm
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I have a coworker from Santa Domingo who describes a sobremesa but has never heard of that expression! She thinks I am the crazy one! ayudame!

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Brandon
Friday at 3:45 pm
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This is great! Me gusta mucho! Speaking of comida... Tapas are an awesome little food I've come across in Spain ( specifically Granada and San Sebastian). I came across these videos as well, got a Spanish Dvd (free) and watching the video lessons and podcasts

>http://bit.ly/aPbue5 ... they've traveled and lived in like 10 spanish speaking countries and teach Spanish in New Mexico.... Viva la raza.

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JP Villanueva
Thursday at 12:38 am
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Rodney,

When I lived in China, we often played the game "what's the first thing you're going to eat when you go back home?" The English would name some English dish, the Aussies would name some Aussie dish, the Canadians would name some hearty Canadian food, and the Americans nearly without exception would say "Mexican food." Haha... Even though we all had wildly different concepts of what Mexican food was, depending on where we were from and level of authenticity, etc. I remember feeling the same way when I was in Europe, just wishing I could have some tacos al pastor...

jp@spanishpod101.com

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Rodney
Wednesday at 9:12 am
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Great lesson, I really enjoy the cultural tips, those are invaluable and hard to come by.


And me encantan los tacos de los puestos en Mexico. Estan como Pringles, ¡no puedes comer solo uno!


I must eat 10+ plus tacos per night when I'm in Mexico on vacation partying it up. In Tijuana they also sell churros and bacon wrapped hot dogs in las calles...umm umm good! There is absolutely nothing like churros fresh out of the grease. ¡Que rico!


To be honest, I love all the different things you can buy from street vendors.