Grandmother’s Spanish Rice

Informant Information:

Juan Lucero is a student at the University of Southern California studying Mechanical Engineering. He also works at the USC Bookstore in his spare time. He is from a Mexican (Spanish) background, and moved from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA for college.


“Two cups of rice. Um, two teaspoons of tomato puree or a can of tomato puree. Two diced cloves of garlic. Uh two teaspoons of vegetable oil. Mix it all together and add five cups of water. Let it simmer for 50 minutes.”

Q: Who taught you this recipe?

“My mom. My grandmother taught my mom and my mom taught me.”

Q: When do you usually make it?

“Every other day… Maybe every other week.”


Though this recipe has a long history in his family, he didn’t want to call it a “family recipe” because he wasn’t sure if this recipe was specific to his family. When I look up this recipe of Spanish rice, it didn’t really resemble the other recipes completely. In other versions of this recipe, onions, as well as chicken stock/broth and whole tomatoes (not canned puree) were very common. Though the informant might not think this recipe is a “family” specific recipe, it is likely that this version of rice was modified uniquely by his family.