I've never studied Spanish, but the other night I found myself helping out at a Spanish immersion institute dinner run in part by a couple of women from the Spanish embassy. (this is for my summer job, where I've been assisting with summer language teaching institutes for foreign language teachers). I think I would have been completely lost, were it not for my prior experiences studying French and Italian.
Aside from muddling through with Spanish, half the fun was eating! They brought some wonderful chorizo, cheeses, and bread, and the group learned how to make gazpacho and tortilla espanola.
The "Spanish lesson" of the title came when I tried to say "I'm hot" (as in, It's really hot in the kitchen with all of these helpful bodies!) and, drawing on my Italian knowledge, I tried "Tengo caldo." In response, I got admonished (well, I was talking with a language teacher).
Hmm. I guess I hadn't looked at our bilingual packs of chicken bouillon cubes enough.
Stupid false friends. Cognates can only help you so much...