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Staying in Seville

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July 3, 2014 / Spanish / By
Ryan Dickinson

During college I studied abroad for a month in Seville, Spain. Throughout that time a girl named Lindsey and I completed a homestay with our wonderful “mother” Paki. Paki was great: not only did she give us a place to stay but she also cooked three meals a day for us.

Paki always prepared a mountain of food for us. Even though almost all of the food she cooked was delicious, it was just too filling for us to complete. Both lunch and dinner consisted of bread, soup, a main course, fruit, and desert. I always ate as much as I could, however, because Paki almost always seemed insulted when I couldn’t finish my plate.

With Paki we were able to try a variety of different Spanish foods. Some of the best dishes she made included gazpacho, salmorejo, and tortilla de patata. Yet my absolute favorite Spanish dish was paella. Paki only made Lindsey and I paella once, but I had it a few times on my own.

Paella is a fairly well-known rice dish that originated in the Valencia region of Spain most likely during the early 1800s. It can be made in a variety of ways, though saffron is an essential ingredient in the dish. Potential other ingredients include pork, chicken, shellfish, shrimp, eel, squid, beans, artichokes, peas, and peppers. Paki made her version using beans and a variety of seafood.

Cooking the paella took Paki almost all morning. I watched her prepare it for a little while and I learned that she made it by following three basic steps. First, she cooked it over an open fire using a special burner & adjustable tripod. She also used a traditional paella pan known as a paellera and bomba rice to complete the meal. I would later learn that medium-grain rice could be used as a substitute for bomba rice, but that the dish couldn’t be prepared using long-grain rice.

Paki served us the paella for lunch, right before our daily siesta. It was delicious, but very filling. The crux of the dish was the rice, which had a flavorful taste and a firm yet fluffy texture. In my mind, the taste of the dish captured the wonder and personality of Spain: zesty with a little bit of edge, satisfying, and wholly memorable. As we ate, Paki waited eagerly to see what we thought of the dish. She was extremely excited that both of us really enjoyed it and almost finished our entire plates.

Anyone who travels to Spain needs to try paella. It is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic Spanish dishes. Yet, outside of Spain, the textures and flavors of the dish are hard to recreate. I’m lucky that I got the opportunity to sample authentic paella served by a native Spaniard. Paki knew what she was doing when she made the dish and it was evident from the final product. 

N/A

Country: Spain

Province/State: Andalucia

City: Seville

Address: N/A

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: N/A

Website:N/A

Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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