A Spanish Day--Around the World in 12 Dishes

Today we had our adventure in discovering Spain. We read stories, made a craft and cooked a flan. But first a bit about Spain. Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula. It is the third largest country in Europe and its southern tip is eight miles north of Africa. Spain has a long and varied history. It was under Roman and Moor rules before becoming independent. It is now a democratic government under a constitutional monarchy. The Moors reign ended in 1492, the same year that Christopher Columbus "discovered" America for the Spanish monarchy. Each ruling culture left its mark on Spain. You can still find Roman aquaducts, the Moors Mosques as well as the Gothic Cathedrals built when the Christians took over the country.
File:Flag of Spain.svg
There are many traditions that Spain is well known for. One being bull fighting and the another the siesta. Meals in Spain differ from meals in the United States. Breakfasts are usually small--a roll and a coffee. Lunch is the big meal of the day. Traditionally the stores, factories, schools, and businesses would close for two to three hours for all the people to return home for lunch and a nap known as the siesta. Although this is not as widely practiced now, it is still in some places. Dinner is much later around 10 or 10:30 and is usually very small. A paseo or evening walk is another custom. Many people in Spain will go for a walk after the stores are closed. They walk in their nicest clothes and may stop to chat with friends or perhaps to get a drink at a cafe or bar. Then they may have their late dinner out or at home. Many Spaniards eat out often and there are many choices of good restaurants. 

So for our day in Spain we took four resource books out of the library.
To make our flan we used the recipe in Cooking The Spanish Way by Rebecca Christian. Now the flan I have eaten has been Brazilian and I loved it. However this recipe was not a success for us. None of us enjoyed it. Hazel and I did enjoy making it though. It involved a lot of stirring of which Hazel did most.
Flan just out of oven
Flan with Sauce

Stirring the sauce

While the flan was in the oven, Hazel and I made a black lace fan. We got the instructions from the Fiesta! Series book Spain published by Grolier Educational. Making the fan was a lot of fun and rather simple. We did not make it as fancy as the one in the book since we used supplies on hand. I found some black lace leftover from a Halloween costume. However making the fan also required using a compass. This was Hazel's first time using a compass or even seeing one and there were a lot of math lessons that could be tied into it with older children.
We also skipped the step of painting the cardboard just because we were running short on time. Our plan is to try some of the Spanish dances using the fan (and the one I bought for her in Epcot). We'll see if we find time soon.

We also took time today to read through Food in Spain by Nancy Loewen. Much of the information I wrote about Spain came from this book and the rest came from Wikipedia.

We also have been enjoying some stories from Spain. We took all of these out of the library. I would like to comment on Princess Florecita and the Iron Shoes by John Warren Stewig. This is a wonderful story where the princess hears about a prince in needing saving and she goes through a great deal to find him and save him. It is a nice twist on common tales of the prince saving the maiden. Medio Pollito means half chicken and that is who the main character is. A chicken who was born with only half a body (one leg, one wing, etc.) and it is his adventure traveling and how he helps others and then they repay him when he finds himself in hot water (literally being made into soup). 

So that was our adventure in Spain thus far (we may try another recipe soon). I have to admit I was sad to see that Epcot did not have Spain as one of its countries in its World Showcase. I saw recently that they will be adding it, but unfortunately for us it will be too late to have been included in this month's adventures. We did however enjoy seeing France which was our adventure in April. Unfortunately the only pictures I took in France were of the kids with Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). We also spent some time in the Canada exhibit, but it was mostly a movie so I don't have pictures really from there either. Oh, well. I am sure I will find some good resources when we get there.

Also for your own passport check out this link from Glittering Muffins and for a fun placemat, this link.


  1. Great ideas! Ferdinand the Bull would also be a great book to read during this unit.

  2. I love reading about how other families explore other countries and cultures. The flan looks delicious, the fan sweet, and the books interesting. Also, it never occurred to me that making a fan would entail math, (we will be making chinese fan) and glad to make note of it.
    Hope you get a chance to do some Spanish dancing!

  3. What a great trip this was!
    I had no idea Spain was so close to Africa. I guess we all learn something new :)
    Thank you for sharing all you learned, as you eat your way around the world.
    (stopping by via Kids in the Kitchen)

  4. What a bunch of great ideas! I'm excited to try out the fan craft with my girls :)

  5. What a fun bunch of activities! I would love to try making flan from scratch, I have only ever tried the "Jello" boxed version. I love the idea of exploring cultures through their foods. :)

  6. it's been YEARS since i've had flan, yum thanks for linking up to #kidsinthekitchen

  7. what fun. I grew up in Spain and had to see what yummy thing you choose to serve =)

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! I hope you come by and link up later today =)

  8. I love your black lace fan! And thank you for sharing these great resources. Too bad neither of you liked the flan, although that's great that it was still fun to make. Just curious how it is different from the Brazilian flan you've had before? Thanks for linking up to the Culture Swapper!

  9. Wow lots of information about Spain! Sorry you didn't like the flan but glad you had fun making it :) Thanks for participating!


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