Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spanish Cuisine: Caution, your mouth may water after reading this!

Whether you like to cook or you like to go to restaurants, eating can be a great way to learn Spanish! Food is a big part of the Spanish culture and is always infused with mouthwatering spices. Seafood is something that is always found in Spanish cuisine and coupled with rice, onions, tomatoes and spices… well let's just say that equals a very tasty meal.

There are a few things you should do before you start this family-friendly activity. First, decide whether you prefer to cook at home or eat out. Then, visit and practice some food phrases to make the most of your dining experience. (

If you prefer to eat out, we suggest a tapas restaurant. Tapas restaurants serve Spanish cuisine in small portions. It is a great option, especially if you would like to try several different foods. Search the yellow pages online to see which tapas restaurants have good ratings in your area. If you are determined to cook at home, first pick a dish to make. There are several different options, but one of our favorites is Centollo a la Sidra. Are you thinking: ¿No sé preparar ese platillo? Don’t worry about it! We have included the recipe below. Now are you wondering what the name Centollo a la Sidra means? Centollo is a European spider crab, so a rough translation would be crab to the cider. You can pick up all of the ingredients below at your local supermarket. If you prefer to get everything authentic you can order it from, and have it delivered right to your door!

We hope you enjoy your next tasty Spanish dish! ¡Disfrute de su comida!


1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small tomato, peeled and chopped


Pinch of cayenne or chile powder

1/2 pound hake, cod, or other white fish fillet, without skin

1/2 pound crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage

3/4 cup hard cide

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter


Sauté the onion in the oil in a large skillet, stirring occasionally, until soft.

Add the tomato, salt to taste, and the cayenne or chile pepper and cook for 8 minutes.

Put in the fish fillet and cook for 5 minutes, or until it begins to flake, turning it once.

Flake it in the skillet, then add the crabmeat, hard cider, and parsley, mix gently, and cook for 1 minute.

Oil 4 ramekins and spoon in the crab mixture. Sprinkle the tops with the bread crumbs and dot with the butter.

Put under a preheated broiler to lightly brown


'The Food of Spain' by Claudia Roden

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's NEVER Too Early to Help Your Kids Become Bilingual

According to new research findings, babies who hear two different languages regularly while still in the womb, become better wired for becoming bilingual than their peers who only hear one language. Science Daily reports:

It may not be obvious, but hearing two languages regularly during pregnancy puts infants on the road to bilingualism by birth. According to new findings inPsychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, infants born to bilingual mothers (who spoke both languages regularly during pregnancy) exhibit different language preferences than infants born to mothers speaking only one language.

Read Full Article:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina

The best way to learn Spanish and get it to stick in your memory is to practice! What better way to practice than traveling to a Spanish speaking country? There are several locations that you can travel to; North America, Central America, South America, Spain and the Caribbean. For a full list of countries click here:

A great starting place for your Spanish learning travels is Buenos Aires, Argentina. Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and the largest city. It is the second largest metropolitan area in South America. Buenos Aires has great dinning, nightlife, scenery and best of all, culture!
Another way to advance your Spanish is by reading. Every year in April Buenos Aires has an international book fair. This annual fair started in 1975 and has a different theme every year. Writers, publishing houses, books and readers travel from all over to attend this extraordinary event.

After attending the book fair you could visit the National Library at Recoleta. The library was founded in 1810 to bring a change in society through knowledge. It has had a few different locations and buildings but its current building is something to see! The library is a symbol of the history and changes of Argentina.

There are several other tourist attractions in Buenos Aires. Since its known as a city that never sleeps, you might need to take a vacation after your vacation! Visit 123TeachMe’s travel section to learn all the phrases you may need to know for your trip to a Spanish speaking country:


Saturday, October 1, 2011

El Dia de los Muertos

Among Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is known as "El Dia de los Muertos." It is a joyous and happy holiday...a time to remember friends and family who have died. Officially commemorated on November 2 (All Souls' Day), the three-day celebration actually begins on the evening of October 31. Designed to honor the dead who are believed to return to their homes on Halloween, many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water and samples of the deceased's favorite foods and drinks. Frequently, a basin and towel are left out in order that the spirit can wash prior to indulging in the feast. Candles are incense are burned to help the departed find his or her way home. Relatives also tidy the gravesites of deceased family members, including snipping weeds, making repairs and painting. The grave is then adorned with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers. Often, a live person is placed inside a coffine which is then paraded through the streets while vendors toss fruit, flowers and candies into the casket. On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some of these gatherings may even include tequila and a mariachi band although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration. In Mexico during the Autumn, countless numbers of Monarch butterflies return to the shelter of Mexico's oyamel fir trees. It was the belief of the Aztecs that these butterflies bore the spirits of dead ancestors.


Want to celebrate El Dia de los Muertos? Check out some of these resources to help you plan and get creative:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed a week in September as National Hispanic Heritage Week. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a month long celebration (September 15 - October 15), honoring our Nation's Hispanic heritage. During this time, America celebrates the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

September 15 is the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

National Hispanic Heritage Month provides an opportunity to focus national attention upon the contributions of the Hispanic community to American society. Most of the activities help to spread the word about Hispanic culture and individual and community achievements.

You may wish to view more information on Hispanic Heritage Month at:

You may also wish to visit, the U.S. government's official web portal in Spanish.

The source for this information is Visit this website for more information:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Test Your Reading Comprehension With This Great Resource

The Spanish government provides a very helpful FREE resource for those looking to learn and improve their reading comprehension and writing skills. The monthly online newsletter is called Tecla:

Tecla es una revista electrónica dirigida a profesores y estudiantes de español que publica mensualmente, durante el curso académico, la Consejería de Educación en el Reino Unido e Irlanda.

Consta de tres textos de niveles A, B y C, actividades de comprensión de la lectura y solucionario. Se complementa con la grabación de los textos.

Here's an excerpt from the June 2011 level A text:

Avilés es una ciudad en la costa del norte de España. Está en la Comunidad Autónoma del Principado de Asturias y tiene una población de 84.000 habitantes. En 1970 era una ciudad industrial con grandes fábricas de acero y metales.

En 1981 Avilés fue declarada Zona de Atmósfera Contaminada por la mala calidad del aire. A partir de 1990 comienza la reconversión industrial: se cierran varias factorías y muchos trabajadores pierden su empleo.

Hoy en día Avilés es una ciudad distinta: la regeneración del medio ambiente es un hecho y la ciudad se ve más limpia y atractiva que nunca. Su casco antiguo, declarado Conjunto Histórico-Artístico, está bien conservado y tiene edificios muy bellos.

To read the rest of the text and test your reading comprehension, go here:

If this text is too advanced for you, give our Beginner's section a try:

You should be able to read and understand much of the text in a few weeks!

Happy Learning!