This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The same names of dishes are found in the Spanish bill of fare as in the Mexican, as might be expected, and it is likely to be the case that the high-class cuisine in the City of Mexico and of the same grade in the cities of Spain are essentially one thing; the old country, however, is subjected to the rasping friction and shaking-up of the cosmopolitan crowd of railway travelers and tourists and can scarcely be so conservative of Spanish habits as the Mexican-Spanish cities may be. This is an observant traveler's sketch of "A Railroad Eating House in Spain - On the railroad at Miranda I for the first time tested Spanish catering at the buffet. It was a wonderful meal-real Spanish cookery, everything done in oil; but it was by no means bad. The wonderful thing about it was the way in which the passengers got through a meal of ten courses in fifteen minutes by the clock. It was one plate down and another up. The waiters actually gallopped round the table piling plates full of soup, fish, entree, joint, fowl, salad, pastry, cheese, and fruit before the astonished passengers. Heavens, how we ate! How we finished one plate and pushed it aside and seized the full one by our side! No changing knives and forks.
It was just one wild waltz from dish to dish." Away from the railroads, however, the family resemblance between Mexico and Spain is plainly discernible; in Mexico the cook-stone is a charcoal furnace, the brasero, a furnace made of baked earth, and in the old country a traveler remarks: "It is to be noted that in the Spanish kitchen charcoal takes the place of coal or gas as fuel, while earthenware vessels are generally employed instead of metal ones. Arroz con Pollo.
This is one of the national dishes of Spain, and may be seen heading as well the Mexican bill of fare on a former page. It will be found to resemble certain other dishes of meat with rice described in Italian and Oriental cookeries. Put 3 tablespoonfuls of oil into a pan, and when hot place therein some small pieces of fowl, which are to be cooked slowly in the oil for half an hour. By this time the pieces should be brown. Meanwhile, in another pan, fry also in oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and red pepper, adding this mixture to the fowl, together with 6 or 8 oz. of well-washed rice and 1 pt. of stock. Cover and simmer slowly until the rice has absorbed the liquid and becomes soft. Two other dishes designated as national dishes differ but little from each other; one is Puchero - A soup made of any or several kinds of meat at once and an assortment of Spanish vegetables; all this strained out and served in one dish while the soup with bread is served in another. Its foundation is as follows: Fry onion and garlic in olive-oil, add any kind of meat (beef, mutton, or fowl, either alone or mixed together), cut into small pieces, and seasoned with salt, plenty of pepper, and a few chillies.
Fill up the puchera (an earthen pan) with water or stock, a little vinegar; addgarbanzos (a kind of chick pea), all vegetables in season and at hand, withholding potatoes until half or three-quarters of an hour before the finish of the dish. The ingredients must simmer slowly.