From under the shade of the trees, Javier levels the hefty paella pan on the burner. The tray next to the burner is full of meats, spices, oils, and rice used in the paella. The garden, the same as everyone else's in the area, has an abnormally tall hedge for privacy from their loud neighbor's. As the paella is being prepared, Maria cooks up chorizo and blood sausage, while a basket of sliced bread sits on the table. I am helping Javier with the paella, adding the oils and seasonings to make the base. After the flavors fuse together, we add the rice and chicken to the pan.
During the long cook time, we all sit down at the table next to the paella pan and burner, waiting for when it is time to eat. My mom starts to talk to Javier and Maria about our time in northern Spain, and how different it was from the south. Maria was starting to serve the appetizer of blood sausage and chorizo during the talking, but most of us were eating bread.
At the table, Brant and I were talking to Pablo, Javier and Maria's son, who is eight years old. He enjoys having us around to talk to in his small amount of English, but he is the only boy in the family. He savored the times we talked and played football with him. After we left, he wanted to come visit us by himself.
Our families have known each other since my Mom hosted Maria at her house as an exchange student and has kept in touch for thirty years. They have kept it touch since high school, and they agreed that we will come visit them in Spain.
During our talk and eating lots of bread and chorizo, the paella is done. All the smells, and talking of the paella start to fade. Javier serves us the paella on huge plates made for kings. As we start to eat the highly anticipated dish, I realize how much more I like the food in Spain, such as lamb, breads, and porras. The paella was cooked perfectly, even though it's the first one my family has had. The bottom layer of rice has become caramelized and slightly burnt to make a crust to the dish. It was by far the best part. The sauces had a distinct taste though it was neither sweet nor savory. The paella was one of the most memorable part our trip to Spain. I’ve been eating traditional american food my whole life, so when I experienced the authentic Spanish food it impacted my thoughts on food.