Scorched Paella and the Pandemic

I have the privilege of staying safe at home during this pandemic. Comfortable, well-fed and loved, I’m basking in the simplicity of making meals for my daughters. I can’t complain.

As a nerdy introvert lost in my own thoughts, my social scene has not altered much except for lunches with my trusted tiny circle of friends.

But.

I do miss being alone with others.

You know….that moment when you feel a part of a stream of humanity, no titles, roles, names, just human. I’ve felt this connection when noticing shoes on the subway, tired heads nodding on a train commute home, standing impatiently at the checkout counter, sitting at a coffee shop glowing with lit laptop screens, waiting with anxious others at doctors offices and airports. I miss humanity.

This social isolation has taught me the value of those accidental encounters of sharing space.

I find myself saying thank-you louder when grocer loads my car and deliberately saying “hi” to people across the street when on walks.

Last night’s experimental recipe was paella in an attempt to conjure the excitement and warmth of Barcelona in my Indiana kitchen.

I scorched it.

It was cooking beautifully. The onion, garlic, parsley, tomato mixture coating the rice kernels. I added the chicken and shrimp too early. The rice wasn’t cooked yet. In order to make up for the mistake, I decided to put a lid on it. Not a good idea. I couldn’t smell the burning that was happening on the bottom.

Yikes! Thankfully, I was able to lift most of rice out of the burnt layer. No roastie-toastie rice layer for me this time. Still good, still better than edible, but less than what it could have been with patience.

The point is: I rushed.

As much as I want to spend a day at a coffee shop quietly working and writing with others, rushing it will burn my paella, my people, what I’m trying to bloom and nurture. This impulse to rush threatens so much.

As we feel the impulse to rush towards each other, are we simply rushing out of discomfort?

We are only limited, finite humans plagued with blurry farsight and muted insight. Asking the big questions of food insecurity, climate change, health care, education, political representation is too overwhelming. Opening up businesses feels like a quick solution. Will opening up businesses and exposing people to the virus kill more people, or will social starvation from isolation kill more people? Death by interaction or isolation? If we have a choice, how many of us are we willing to sacrifice in the name of a return to “normalcy.”

I don’t know.

We are all uncomfortable with the physical isolation and worried. The collapse of the economy or the collapse of humanity, are these the same?

If this were a therapy session, I would say, “Let’s sit with this for a moment.”

With the paella, I made a mistake by rushing to return the meats to the pan. I needed to accept that, instead of trying to rush the rice too. I scorched a half of my pan, saved another half. I can’t afford to scorch half of humanity, just because I miss humanity.

I know I’m rambling. Nothing makes sense. Thank you for listening.

Sending you loving thoughts out there. Missing you,

Hungryphil

Here is the link to the paella recipe, modify as needed, just don’t rush 🙂

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/the-ultimate-paella-recipe-2117628

4 thoughts on “Scorched Paella and the Pandemic

  1. Hiya Lisa!

    I miss you my dear! We’re adding two more raised beds and I’m very much looking forward to bringing you veggies and chatting in person once again.

    I can’t imagine what the future holds. I can’t imagine eating in a restaurant or going to a concert.

    However, the 6 out of the 9 beds are planted. That’s what I’m hanging onto right now.

    Are you going to be able to finish school this semester?!

    Liked by 1 person

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