Less talk and more walk:
SO… I decided to stop flapping my gums and put my money where my mouth was. All this paella fad was getting to me and, instead of constantly bitching and moaning about how “these guiris have no clue what a real paella is”, I decided to show how it’s done at least, the way I had been privileged to experience as a child of the Iberian peninsula. And there’s only one way to make things good: knowledge & practice.
What the hell is this? Paella is a rice dish that originates in Valencia (yeah, where the oranges come from) and adjoining eastern regions of Spain. Although the better known variation is made with seafood most purists contest that the original is with vegetables, chicken and rabbit. Will expand a little more later in this post.
NOT “Pay-Yay-Yah” : For those who give a shit, here’s the correct pronunciation. It’s actually pretty easy so please don’t do “Pay-yay-yah”, there’s really no need.
Let’s break it down:
- Can you say Patty? pah-tee? Great! let’s keep the first sound (pah) and move on.
- Now let’s get the first sound in the word Ebony. It’s not an “ee” sound, it’s more like an “eh”, right? EH-buh-nee? Perfect, stick to that sound, “eh”. And now for the last part.
- How about Yankee? Can you just keep the sound of the first syllable without the”n”? Just “Yah”?
- Cool, now you’re all set to put it all together. ready? one… two… three PAH-EH-YAH!
See how easy that was? Give yourself a hand, you’ve earned it…
The word “Paella”: When I was a kid i was taught that the dish was called “paella” and the pan “paellera” but this was a common misconception of the goths or Castilian inland Spaniards. The Levantine or eastern peeps have long-since dispelled this particular myth. The word Paella refers to the flat metal pan in which the rice dish is prepared. Originates from the word padelle/padella and hence, it’s probably a distant cousin of the English word “pad”. Who knew!
Research: so what I did is, first off hit members of my friends and family that are known for their outstanding cooking skills. The problem with that is that they all have their own personal touch, an individual approach to paella that gives them a seal of identity. What I wanted was to learn how to walk before I decided to run so I needed to find the closest to a universal standard I could possibly find, and armed with my personal experience as a consumer of Spanish and Mediterranean food, use that discernment to zero-in on some solid paella recipes. so I went online — thank providence for the interwebs — and armed with said discernment, sifted through the german and other improbable renditions to spot those that wang true to my childhood memories. I then reduced the results to a select four, and extracted the essence of each to consolidate my very own paella recipe. Mwahahahahah!
so what came next wasn’t very hard. I just had to find groups of 6 to 8 friends (the pan makes for limited amounts) that were willing to come to my house and try the results of my alchemy. I am proud to say the results were very satisfactory and the reviews extremely flattering. Here’s a gallery: