So, the story goes like this. I used to live in Valencia, Spain. And when you live in the land that invented paella, you get used to people talking about rice. They will tell you LOTS of things about paella: how they make paella, where to eat paella (“Oh, not that place, it’s far too touristy! Ja ja ja!”), when to eat paella (and of course, por DIOS, when NOT to eat paella: dinner, in case you were wondering, you may NOT eat paella for dinner), how during the 50’s people started putting pigeon in their paella… wait, not pigeon, rabbit… pigeon was another story. Oh, and they WILL yell at you if you put olives in your paella, so don’t try that either. I remember one time there was a paella competition at the school I used to teach at and the winning team was disqualified because they had snuck in a water bottle full of chicken broth. NOT allowed, people! In a word, they are passionate about their paella. And with good reason, I suppose, since it is delicious, healthy, and very beautiful to look at.*
When I’m feeling a little Spain-sick, I tend to need to get a fix of something Spanish. People get a little nervy when I try to kiss both of their cheeks, so I generally tend towards an Almodóvar movie, maybe a little David Bisbal, or I might whip up a tortilla española. (Side note: I found an episode of Cuéntame Cómo Pasó on TV at my sister’s house and almost peed my pants.) But this time I decided to celebrate the Spain in me by making a paella… And, even though this might be giving away the Valencian rice farm, I have included a step-by-step recipe (Spanish style). Number 11 is the most important step, so ignore at your own risk.
7. Oooh, so pretty!
10. Sprinkle, let settle.
11. DO NOT STIR! Are you trying to make risotto? You can go to Italy for that mushy crap! (j/k my Italian friends!)
12. DO NOT STIR! NO TOUCHING! For to look only!
So yes, the moral of the story is “DON’T TOUCH THE RICE.” I remember fondly/traumatically when a friend’s mamá was talking me through the recipe. As some may know, I love to stir food while it’s cooking. I don’t know why, I just do. The poor woman essentially had to hit my hand to keep me from stirring that damn rice.
*If, in this paragraph, it sounds like I’m making fun of Spanish people… 1) I’m partly joking with a few people who know who they are, and 2) Yes, yes I am. But I love them and their paella tunnel vision.