[Sca-cooks] Paella

Suey lordhunt at gmail.com
Tue Mar 8 20:27:48 PST 2011

Stefan has been pushing us for an article on paella stemming from my 
> The word comes from Ar. /pulao/, a Persian pilaf dish. Persians took it
> to Spain and India. Originally pulao was browned rice cooked with nuts,
> herbs and raisins. In Spain paella is rice with chicken or with seafood
> or with pork. In South America they mix all three. Certainly, one can
> have a vegetarian paella but I have never heard of putting mushrooms
> alone or accompanied with other foods. This is new to me. . .
Sharon Palmer wrote:
> Paella:<  Spanish paella (1874 or earlier)<
> Catalan paella pan (1254)<  Old French paelle
> (see pail n.1).("
> Pail::<  Anglo-Norman paele, paelle, paiele,
> paile, paiel, pale pan, bucket and Old French,
> Middle French paele, paelle, paielle, payelle
> frying pan (c1150), warming pan, brazier,
> cauldron (c1170), salt pan (mid 13th cent. in the
> source translated in quot. 1481 at sense 2),
> liquid measure (c1275; Middle French poile,
> French po?le)<  classical Latin patella small pan
> or dish, plate, in post-classical Latin also salt
> pan (8th cent.): see patella n. Compare
> post-classical Latin paella (from late 12th cent.
> in British sources; also as paila, payla).
> Paella and pulao (or pilaf) are both rice, but
> are different kinds of rice and are cooked quite
> differently.
There is a 1402 inventory of a religious establishment in Santander I 
believe, not the Basque country, with a paella meaning the pan. There is 
evidence of paella in reference to my meaning above, i.e. a rice dish in 
Seville but paella, the rice dish, but it seems that it really was 
unknown until Franco. Remember he came into power at the end of the 
Spanish Civil War in 1939. Then Spain was a devastated country and the 
rest of Europe was beginning World War II. As Spain had no hope of aid 
which was so desperately needed, Franco created myths. He said Spanish 
had the biggest vocabulary in the world so Spain was "rich" (obviously 
he had never seen all the volumes of the Oxford Dictionary). He pumped 
regional foods. As Valencia was the rice provider, it became the 
traditional "gourmet" of paellas as Leon with the "best" chickpeas had 
the "best" cocidos.
As there were no kilts during the time of Braveheart, but there were in 
the movie, I become increasingly reluctant to expound on paella and I am 
becoming leery of cocido as a traditional medieval dish.
When my daughter returned from a college stay in Nicaragua she said the 
people there scratched the earth for food. I think medieval food was a 
result of earth scratching. If chickpeas were available you put them in 
a pot and cooked them while your regional neighbor had rice to put in 
his pot. It took Franco to make them gourmet.

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