Considered by many to be the national dish of Spain, paella originated, as many traditional dishes do, as “peasant” food — a lunchtime rice dish prepared by workers in the field over an open fire. National Spanish Paella Day, on March 27, celebrates a food filled with tradition. Always cooked in a round, flat bottomed pan with handles, the dish most likely takes its name from the Latin term “patella,” a flat plate on which offerings were made to the gods. The open flame is essential, as it creates the layer of toasted rice at the bottom of the pan that is essential and unique to paella. Delicious!