How to Teach Your Children Spanish In the Kitchen

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“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.” Dorothy Day

How to Teach Your Children Spanish In the Kitchen

        As all busy homeschool moms know, it can be difficult to juggle schooling with the many responsibilities of modern life. Cooking is just one of the many tasks to attend to during the day, and, admittedly, it can be hard to find the time—especially when there is homeschool teaching to be done. Typically, cooking is a rushed task with an express goal: getting food on the table. Rarely do we pause to savor the flavors, cultures, and histories that distinguish the dishes we cook.

        Today, we want to slow it down—siesta-style—by taking Spanish out of the classroom and into the kitchen. You and your child or children will have fun learning another language, they’ll pick up useful cooking and food preparation skills, and you’ll get an extra set of hands in the kitchen. It’s a win-win-win!

Let’s Cook!– ¡Vamos a cocinar!

¿Estás listo? Cooking in Spanish is easy—and fun! We’ve compiled some simple and easy phrases for you and your kids to use while navigating the kitchen. Print our phrases list out for easy reference.

For this post, we selected a traditional recipe that you can make for either lunch or dinner. It’s a classic dish which your child would be likely to encounter at a restaurant or while traveling abroad.

As you prepare your meal, encourage your children to communicate and respond in Spanish. Before using any ingredient, ask your children to name it (we’ve included vocab words next to each recipe). Use “si,” “no,” “gracias,” etc. You can even play Latin-inspired music, if you like! Try to commit to at least one English-free hour, or even half-hour. We promise: the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment you’ll gain will make the food taste even better!

Teach Your Kids Spanish with Rosetta Stone

¡Vámonos! Rosetta Stone is homeschool’s #1 language learning software curriculum and makes learning Spanish intuitive and fun for your kids. Just like this cooking session, Rosetta Stone uses real-world instances, images, text, and sound to makes learning a second language just as natural as learning their first.

Our methodology is fun, fast, and easy. Try our revolutionary training style for yourself with our free Homeschool Edition trial.

Recipes–Las recetas

Ropa ViejaRopa vieja is the national dish of Cuba, though its origins can be traced to Spain. The name translates literally to “old clothes,” a reference to the “tattered” appearance of the shredded beef. Legend has it that a penniless man once shredded and cooked his own clothes into a soup because he could not afford anything else. According to the story, he prayed over the motley brew and a miracle occurred–the clothes “soup” turned into a delicious meat stew.


-1 tbs vegetable oil – El aceite vegetal

-2 lbs beef flank steak — La carne

-1 cup beef broth  —Caldo de carne

-1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce – La salsa de tomate

-1 (6 oz) can tomato paste – La pasta de tomate

-1 small onion, sliced  —La cebolla

-1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips—El chile

-2 cloves garlic—El ajo

-1 tsp ground cumin—El comino

-1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro— El cilantro

-1 tbs olive oil – El aceite de oliva

-1 tbs white vinegar –El vinagre


Over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil in large skillet. Cook flank steak until browned on each side, about four minutes per side.

Transfer beef to slow cooker and add beef broth and tomato sauce. Then stir in the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cilantro, olive oil and vinegar. Blend well, cover, and cook on High for four hours or on Low for up to 10 hours.

Serve over rice or with tortillas. Serves four.

Useful Kitchen Phrases


To make – hacer

To cook – cocinar

To prepare – preparar

To chop – picar

To boil – hervir

To fry – freír

To clean, wash — limpiar

To set the table — poner la mesa


Cup – La taza

Tablespoon – La tucharada

Teaspoon – La cucharadita

Ounce – La onza

Other things to say

Could you pass me ___ — ¿Me pasas ____?

Careful! – ¡Cuidado!

The recipe calls for ___. – La receta pide ___.

Do it like this – Hágalo así

Do not do it like that – No lo haga así

Show me – Muéstreme

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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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