Do You Know the Difference Between Spanish and Mexican Cuisine?

They may share a common language, but the cuisines of Spain and Mexico are vastly different. Though Spain conquered much of the Americas, the influence of the native cuisines of Latin America is strong throughout the continent. 
The cuisine of Mexico is a combination of these two cultures. It has elements of Spanish cooking, but the staples are local foods: corn, beans and chili peppers. There’s also more of an emphasis on meats like beef, chicken or pork.
And what about the peppers?? Some of the hottest peppers in the world are used in Mexican cuisine. They vary in heat from Habaneros (100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat units) to milder types such as poblanos (1,000 to 1500 Scoville heat units.) Corn is another staple, dried and used in soups and other dishes but primarily in tortillas empanadas and tamales.
Sauces are also very important in Mexican cuisine and add many complex flavors to the food. Their sauces rather than their other ingredients define many dishes.
The Spanish influence on Mesoamerican food starts with the new ingredients they brought from Europe: sugar, wheat, rice, onions, garlic, limes, oil, dairy products, pork, beef and many others which were not native to the Americas.
But it works both ways. When Spain invaded the Americas, they discovered ingredients such as tomatoes, potatoes, maize, bell peppers, spicy peppers, paprika, vanilla and cocoa, or chocolate. The Spanish were the first ones to mix sugar and chocolate. Other influences on Spanish Cuisine were Moorish and Jewish (Sephardic) cooking.
Spanish cuisine is considered Mediterranean cuisine. Seafood plays a large part in all Spanish cooking as do meats such as pork, chicken, lamb and beef. In contrast to the use of powerful spices in Mexico, Spanish cooking relies heavily on garlic and saffron. Spain is the biggest producer of olive oil in the world, and it’s used extensively in most Spanish dishes.

Spanish cooking varies greatly from region to region depending on location and geography. Here are a few:

  • Andalusia is famous for gazpacho, and iberico and serrano ham
  • Castilla-La Mancha (home of Don Quixote) relies on small game for meat because of its dry climate,
  • Catalonia has three regions – coastal, mountains and interior so the cuisine varies from seafood to pork with an extensive use of vegetables.
  • Valencia has two regions – coastal (home of Paella) and rural which has more meat based food.

Spain is also famous for tapas-  from the verb tapar (to cover). Tapas originated in Andalusia in bars or taverns where customers used slices of meat or bread to cover their drinks. Tapas have evolved from that simple origin to a sophisticated range of dishes using anything from vegetables to seafood and meats.
You can’t go wrong with either cuisine since both are delicious! You also can’t go wrong learning Spanish to order your favorite meals. Contact us at Luminoso Language Services to start your lessons.

Improve Your Spanish During the Day

People ask, “How do I improve my Spanish aside from taking lessons?” One answer is to integrate Spanish into your daily routine. Here are some easy ways to do it on and offline:

  1. Lots of websites have English/Spanish versions. Read them first in Spanish, then look at the English to see how you did.
  2. Read a Spanish language newspaper online or in print.
  3. When you’re watching TV, watch movies or shows in Spanish. Turn on English subtitles to help your understanding if people are talking too fast.
  4. Read a book in Spanish. Here’s a link to Don Quixote in English and Spanish or pick a book you know well and read it in Spanish with your English copy close by.
  5. Are you a gamer? You can find Spanish language versions of your games online.
  6. Listen to podcasts in Spanish. Do the people speak too fast? Here’s a site that has slow, intermediate, and advanced podcasts News in Slow Spanish
  7. Pay attention when you’re out. Lots of stores and public places have multilingual signs and brochures you can read alongside English versions.
  8. Use different colored sticky notes to label objects around your house, it will help your vocabulary and brighten up your home!
  9. If you’re a list person, write your lists in Spanish.
  10. Join or find a Spanish speaking group.
  11. Don’t be shy! If you’re talking with a person who speaks Spanish, step up to the plate and talk to them – you’ll be amazed at how much you know!

These are some easy ways to integrate Spanish into your life and build confidence speaking a second language. For comprehensive, personal lessons online, click here and we’ll be in touch soon.

This Map Shows The Most Commonly Spoken Language in Every US State, Excluding English and Spanish.

The map above shows the most commonly spoken languages state-by-state after English and Spanish. Interestingly, the language areas correspond to immigration numbers since the country was founded.

Take a look at the map, think about your ethnic heritage, and see where the language of your family origins is located in the melting pot that is the United States.

The four most prevalent languages in the country are:

English – Is spoken by 79 percent of the population. It’s the default official language of the country because it’s the language that’s used by the government to conduct its business and communicate.

Spanish – Spanish is spoken as a first language by about 38 million Americans. The prevalence of Spanish is shown by the amount of students and adults studying it as a second language – children and adults are learning it as a second language in record numbers. The U.S. is the fifth largest Spanish speaking country in the world.

Chinese – The third largest spoken language in the U.S. is spoken by 3 million Americans. While Cantonese is dominant, more people are beginning to study Mandarin as it is the official language of the People’s Republic of China.

Tagalog – a Philippine language, is the fourth-most spoken language in the U.S. It’s spoken by almost 2 million people. Filipinos are the second fastest growing Asian population in the country after China.

Contact us to find out more about personalized Spanish and Italian lessons.

¿Por qué es tan difícil recordar las contraseñas nuevas?/Why is it so difficult to remember new passwords?

Según un estudio, cierta información ‘importante’ es bloqueada por el cerebro casi de manera automática, haciendo imposible recordar contraseñas nuevas.

Recordar contraseñas nuevas puede ser una pesadilla. Tan solo basta con hacer la búsqueda apropiada en Google para encontrar millones de páginas que intentan ayudar a usuarios desesperados por entrar a una cuenta con una clave que olvidó por completo.

Aunque muchos decidan culparse por ello, ignorar datos tan importantes puede obedecer a una conducta del cerebro completamente normal. Al menos así quedó marcado en un estudio de la Universidad de Zhejiang en China, donde se realizaron una serie de experimentos para explicar la facilidad con la que las personas olvidan cosas que no deberían olvidar.

Según se lee en el estudio publicado por la revista Science Advances, el cerebro activa inconscientemente una serie de mecanismos que bloquean la permanencia de información ‘importante’ en la memoria de trabajo de las personas casi en automático.

Los expertos incluso aseguran que el cerebro puede ser tan selectivo que a veces le resultará más fácil recordar lo que se pidió ignorar deliberadamente que los datos necesarios para llevar a cabo procesos básicos como entrar a un correo electrónico.

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Why is it so difficult to remember new passwords?

According to one study, certain ‘important’ information is blocked by the brain almost automatically, making it impossible to remember new passwords.

Remembering new passwords can be a nightmare. Just do the appropriate search on Google to find millions of pages that try to help users desperate to enter an account with a password that they completely forgot.

Although many choose to blame themselves for it, ignoring such important data can be due to completely normal brain behavior. At least that is how it was marked in a study by Zhejiang University in China, where a series of experiments were carried out to explain the ease with which people forget things that they should not forget.

According to the study published by the journal Science Advances, the brain unconsciously activates a series of mechanisms that block the permanence of ‘important’ information in people’s working memory almost automatically.

Experts even say that the brain can be so selective that sometimes it will be easier to remember what was asked to deliberately ignore than the data necessary to carry out basic processes such as entering an email.

Read the full article in Spanish

Un poquito menos de sal ayuda bastante/Cutting Out Even a Little Salt Can Have Big Health Benefits

A veces, los cambios aparentemente pequeños en beneficio de nuestra salud pueden suponer una diferencia muy grande. Tal es el caso del efecto sobre la presión arterial del sodio, un nutriente esencial y la problemática mitad del cloruro de sodio, el popular condimento que conocemos comúnmente como sal.

La cantidad de sal que se puede consumir sin peligro ha sido objeto de controversia durante un siglo, y es poco probable que el debate se resuelva pronto.

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Cutting Out Even a Little Salt Can Have Big Health Benefits

Sometimes, seemingly small changes in a health measurement can make a very large difference to people’s well-being. Such is the case with the effect on blood pressure of the essential nutrient sodium, the problematic half of the popular flavoring agent sodium chloride, commonly known as salt.

The amount of salt that is safe for people to consume has been embroiled in controversy for a century, and the debate is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

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La tarta de fresas con crema de la abuela, reinventada/A Retro Icebox Pie Gets a Vibrant Makeover

Un postre vintage adquiere una dimensión de ensueño con la ayuda de un poco de alquimia de refrigeradora e ingredientes muy frescos.

Hay pocos postres de dos ingredientes tan extraordinarios como una tarta helada de galletas.

Cuando la crema batida y las galletas crujientes de vainilla estilo wafer se superponen en una sencilla combinación y se dejan enfriar durante la noche, ambos ingredientes renacen. Las galletas secas y quebradizas absorben la humedad de la crema batida y se ablandan hasta convertirse en un pastel, mientras que la crema se endurece hasta convertirse en un bloque glaseado con la firmeza suficiente para poder cortarlo. Es un milagro cotidiano que siempre resulta emocionante.

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A Retro Icebox Pie Gets a Vibrant Makeover

Add some refrigerator alchemy to vanilla wafers, fresh strawberries and mounds of whipped cream for a dreamy, creamy late-summer dessert.

There are few two-ingredient desserts as transcendent as an icebox cake.

When the unassuming combination of whipped cream and crisp wafer cookies is layered together and chilled overnight, each is reborn. The brittle, dry cookies absorb the moisture of the cream, softening into cake, while the whipped cream stiffens up into a plush snowdrift of frosting that’s just barely firm enough to slice. It’s an everyday miracle that’s always a thrill.

To enjoy this recipe, click HERE

Son las 3 a.m. y estoy despierto. ¿Cómo me vuelvo a dormir?/I’m Often Wide Awake at 3 A.M. How Do I Get Back to Sleep?

Los expertos en sueño ofrecen recomendaciones para dormir profundamente toda la noche.

Es normal despertar varias veces durante la noche, a menudo cuando el cerebro atraviesa distintos ciclos de sueño más o menos profundo. Las personas mayores a menudo tienen que salir de la cama para ir al baño. Todo esto suele ser inofensivo. La mayoría de la gente no tiene dificultad para volver a dormirse y puede que a la mañana siguiente ni siquiera recuerden que se despertaron a mitad de la noche.

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Sleep experts offer advice on sleeping soundly through the night.

It’s normal to wake up a few times during the night, as the brain cycles through various stages of deeper and lighter sleep. Older people also often have to get out of bed to use the bathroom one or two times during the night. Waking up at night is usually harmless. Most people have no trouble falling back asleep and may not even remember their nighttime awakenings the next morning.

Read More here in Spanish

Un agricultor egipcio encuentra por error una estela faraónica de 2 mil 600 años/An Egyptian farmer mistakenly finds a 2,600-year-old pharaonic stele

Mientras preparaba su tierra, un agricultor descubrió una estela faraónica al noreste de El Cairo, con nueva información sobre una gran guerra contra los fenicios.

En las cercanías de la ciudad de Ismailia, en Egipto, un agricultor empezó su día de trabajo sin saber que encontraría una estela faraónica. Como sucede en los países con amplia riqueza cultural e histórica, es común que este tipo de hallazgos por parte de la población civil sean accidentales. Sin embargo, resalta el hecho de que la pieza está casi intacta, y podría datar de hace 2 mil 600 años.

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An Egyptian farmer mistakenly finds a 2,600-year-old pharaonic stele

While preparing his land, a farmer discovered a pharaonic stele northeast of Cairo, with new information about a great war against the Phoenicians.

In the vicinity of the city of Ismailia, in Egypt, a farmer started his work day not knowing that he would find a pharaonic stele. As is the case in countries with extensive cultural and historical wealth, it is common for this type of discoveries by the civilian population to be accidental. However, it highlights the fact that the piece is almost intact, and could date from 2,600 years ago.

Read here in Spanish

Un experimento demuestra que el cuerpo combate a la comida rápida como si fuera una infección/An experiment shows that the body fights fast food like an infection

Al recibir comida rápida como alimento, el organismo se ve obligado a producir más glóbulos blancos, como si estuviera bajo ataque.

Grasa. Porciones desmedidas. Productos hiperindustrializados, que se congelan indefinidamente hasta que llegue el próximo cliente. De manera natural, el organismo humano no está preparado para procesar la comida rápida. Una investigación reciente asegura, incluso, que la combate como si se tratara de una infección bacteriana.

¿Cómo recibe el cuerpo humano la ingesta de comida rápida?

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An experiment shows that the body fights fast food like an infection

By receiving fast food as food, the body is forced to produce more white blood cells, as if under attack.
Grease. Excessive portions. Hyper-industrialized products, which are frozen indefinitely until the next customer arrives. Naturally, the human body is not prepared to process fast food. Recent research even ensures that it fights it as if it were a bacterial infection.

How does the human body receive fast food intake?

Read more in Spanish

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¿Cómo se ve el atardecer desde Marte, Urano o el satélite más grande de Saturno, Titán?/ What does the sunset look like from Mars, Uranus, or Saturn’s largest satellite, Titan?

Así se ven los atardeceres en Marte y otros mundos según la NASA.

El espacio es un sitio hostil para la humanidad. La radiación, las temperaturas extremas y la falta de las condiciones particulares que hacen posible la vida en la Tierra hacen de cada planeta y luna del vecindario cósmico un mundo distinto.

Pero aún en esta diversidad, el sistema planetario mantiene un orden armónico gracias a un elemento que para ningún planeta resulta indistinto: el Sol.

Una simulación de la NASA pretende explorar cómo se vería una puesta de Sol en distintos planetas y los colores que iluminan el cielo hasta que desaparece en el horizonte.

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This is what sunsets look like on Mars and other worlds according to NASA

What does the sunset look like from Mars, Uranus, or Saturn’s largest satellite, Titan?

Space is a hostile place for humanity. Radiation, extreme temperatures and the lack of the particular conditions that make life possible on Earth make each planet and moon in the cosmic neighborhood a different world.

A NASA simulation aims to explore what a sunset would look like on different planets and the colors that light up the sky until it disappears over the horizon.

Read more in Spanish HERE