Granddaughter E is 18. I invited her over to make paella. Cooking is a way to spend time alone with her; a way to lure this great beauty over and have her company all to ourselves.
Yes, we have a paella pan. No, we're not sticklers for tradition. We're Americans, for crying out loud. We live in small town USA, a gastronomical wasteland that would have us exist on fries, hamburgers, and pizza, with an occasional side of coleslaw. We could shop in Orlando, but who wants to drive that far? We make do with what we find at our small Publix.
I did order saffron and real-for-real paella rice online. We had clams (the only ones at the store still in their shells), shrimp, sausage, and chicken. I confess we used deboned chicken breasts. I know, I know, it should be actual chicken pieces. Most in my family only want white meat, and do NOT want to work hard to eat it.
E made it, with me hovering nearby. I forced myself to turn away, bellowing "tips" and encouragement, helping her read the recipe, things like that (!). You should have seen her chopping garlic. The kid's a natural.
She took finishing the top as a creative challenge. In her world, paella has a face. Peas are served separately so those who hate peas avoid them, and those who love peas sprinkle them over the top.
One family member has a shrimp allergy, so Grandpa cooked shrimp separately, too. Like I said, we make do.
Nice job, my luv!
Just before it went into the oven.