The Surprising History of Paella: From Farm Laborers to National Dish of Spain

TLDR Paella, the national dish of Spain, originated as a simple rice dish made by Valencian rice farmers. It was influenced by the Romans, Islamic invasions, and a conscious decision by Francisco Franco, eventually becoming the iconic dish it is today.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Paella is the national dish of Spain, with a surprising history and a key ingredient of rice.
02:03 Paella is a rice dish that originated in the Valencia region of Spain and was influenced by the Romans and Islamic invasions.
03:59 Paella is believed to have originated as a dish made by farm laborers in the rice fields of Valencia, Spain, and its name originally referred to the pan used to cook it, not the food itself.
05:48 Paella, originally a simple dish created by Valencian rice farmers, began to spread and adapt throughout Spain in the 19th and early 20th centuries, eventually becoming the national dish representing all of Spain due to a conscious decision made by Francisco Franco, the military dictator who ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975.
07:38 After Spain returned to democracy in the 1970s, the perception of paella as the Spanish national dish sort of stuck, at least outside of Spain, and paella traditionalists began to push back on what they saw as the corruption of true paella, insisting that the only true paella is what's better known as paella valenciana.
09:36 Chorizo was actually used in paellas in the 19th century, and when ordering paella in Spain, it is typically meant for two people and can take a few hours to make, so it's best to find a restaurant that specializes in paella.
11:33 The theory is that the Islamic Caliphate brought rice dishes from Persia or South Asia to Spain, which may have influenced the creation of paella.
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