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Spain: Picasso, Flamenco, & Paella
Do you want to know more about Spain? Are you a lover of travel, geography teacher, homeschooling or involved parent, student, or life-long learner? In an effort to make world geography more meaningful and memorable, I've compiled all you will need to locate Spain on a map, cook a Spanish meal, watch YouTube clips on Spain, color the flag, create a Spanish craft, read a great book about Spain, and more! This is part of a series of lessons I did with my family while as we studied various countries from around the globe!
Where Is Spain?
Locate Spain on this map of Europe. Use this map of Spain to label the capitol, Madrid. Mark other relevant features (rivers, mountains, famous locations, etc.) if desired. If you'd like to spend a bit more time researching the country, you can add the language, currency, type of government, religion, and/or famous landmarks. Write them on the back of the map. You can easily find all this information at wikipedia.org.
Fun Facts About Spain
In Spain, the Spanish language is officially called Castilian (el castellano). There are other Spanish languages spoken there too such as Catalan (el catalin), Galician (el gallego), Basque (el vasco or el euskera), and Valencian (el valenciano).
Every year, on the last Wednesday of August, the people of Buaol, Spain (near Valencia) celebrate a festival called La Tomatina which is a huge tomato fight!
To celebrate New Year's Day, the people of Spain eat 12 grapes at midnight, one grape for each stroke of the clock and for each month of the year.
The Spanish Meal We Prepared and Enjoyed
Prepare and serve paella, sangria, and polvoran (shortbread cookies). Be sure to play some flamenco and/or classical guitar music with your meal. Before eating, it is polite to say, "Que aproveche!" which means, "Enjoy your meal!"
Feel free to serve the alcoholic version of Sangria (by adding wine) if desired.
- 4 cups cranberry-grape juice
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 sliced orange
- 1 sliced apple
- 3 cups lemon-lime soda
- Mix juice and fruit in a large pitcher. Chill for several hours. Add soda before serving. (This recipe came from makingfriends.com.)
This looks like a complicated recipe, but it's really not. Brown the meat, set it aside, soften the vegetables, add everything together, and cook it. Add the peas and shrimp just before it's done. If you enjoy seafood, you can add add clams, calamari, prawns or mussels.
- 1 1/2 cups rice (bomba or calasparra or arborio risotto are the most authentic)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 diced onion
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 large diced bell pepper
- 2 diced plum tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 links chorizo sausages (sliced into 1 inch pieces)
- 2 lbs. chicken
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 pinch saffron or 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup frozen peas or green beans
- 1 lb. shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 2 quartered lemons
- Coat the bottom of a large stock pot or pan with olive oil. Brown the chorizo over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Do not fully cook, just get the outside well-browned. Set aside. Brown the chilcken for 2-3 minutes. It should not be fully cooked. Set it aside. Brown the garlic, onion and bell pepper until they're softened (about 5-7 minutes), adding plum tomatoes shortly before the mixture is finished. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan and on the other add the half can of tomato paste, heating it for 2 minutes to bring out its flavor. Mix all of the vegetables and meats together with the tomato paste. Add the paprika, parsley thyme, and rice, mixing together and stirring as the rice browns (1-1 1/2 minutes). As the rice browns mix in the saffron. Make sure to break it the saffron between your fingers and stir it in to release all the oil. When the rice is slightly translucent, add enough chicken stock to cover the whole mixture. Bring to a boil and then lower to a medium heat. Keep it at a steady boil. Stir a few times in the first 5-10 minutes, adding broth as necessary to keep the rice fully covered. Let it cook another 10-20 minutes. When you have about 8 minutes left to cook, add the frozen peas. Then lay the shrimp on top, turning over after 2-4 minutes to cook other side. When the rice on top is still quite al dente, take paella off of heat and cover. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges. (This recipe came from food.com.)
Polvoran (Shortbread Cookies)
These are traditionally made around Christmas. Traditionally the dough is rolled into logs and then sliced before it's baked; however, my kids enjoy rolling dough into balls, so that's what we did.
- 3/4 c. butter at room temperature
- 1/2 lb. powdered sugar (divided)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. finely chopped almonds or walnuts
- Beat butter until light and fluffy. Then beat in 2 tablespoons of the confectioner's sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and almonds. Beat in flour. Roll into walnut-sized balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stock cooking spray. Flatten each ball slightly. (Balls will not spread so they can be placed close together on the baking sheet.) Bake at 350F until very lightly browned (about 8-12 minutes). Let cool slightly on baking sheets until they are cool enough to handle. Place the remaining powdered sugar in a Ziploc bag and drop the cookies in. Shake them around to cover them in powdered sugar. (Alternatively, you can simply dust the cookies with powdered sugar or even roll them in a bowl of powdered sugar.) Remove and let cool completely on wire racks. (This recipe came from cooks.com.)
Children's Books We Read About Spain
This is part of a cute series on two chihuahuas who visit the main sites of famous cities and try the local cuisine. While in Barcelona, they visit places La Sagrada Familia and sample tapas. The illustrations are absolutely adorable! The author does a wonderful job or making the story both interesting and informative. I love this series!
We really enjoyed reading about Antoni Gaudi's life and what inspired him to create such amazing art and architecture in Spain. This is an excellent picture book on his life.
Other great picture books include If I Lived in Spain by Rosanne Knorr, The Last Knight by Will Eisner (a fun 32 page graphic/comic book-like adaptation of Don Quixote, and Pablo Picasso (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia.
Pray for the people of Spain
To find out about the religious nature of Spain and specific ways you can pray for the country, go to operationworld.com.
Visit Spain on YouTube
Spain in 2 Minutes
Other countries starting with the letter S
Would you prefer to study a different country? Try one of these.
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
São Tomé and Príncipe
I've been to Spain. Have you visited Spain yet?
Where is the capital of Spain?
Ready to visit another country?
Go to around-the-world-in-26-letters to find links to all the countries we "visited." Each webpage features a menu, craft, books, video clips, worksheets, and more!