Paella for three

The type of paella we had today

I thought that after two and a half years in Spain I was quite tired of paella, the world-famous Spanish national dish which originated in the Valencia region where I currently live. Somehow it seems to be the only thing that comes into people’s minds if they suggest a shared meal.

Nevertheless, I have to admit that I really enjoyed the delicious variety with chicken, rabbit, green beans and tomato paste that a former neighbor prepared today with firewood for a common friend and me. I very happily carried the leftovers home for lunch tomorrow!

Due to the Chinese translation of the term, many Taiwanese believe that’s actually prepared with seafood. This is a misunderstanding that I always warned my students in Taiwan about. I told them not to be surprised or disappointed if nothing from the ocean is dished up.

Of course you can also use fish stock, prawns, mussels and squid, but that’s the expensive type which Spaniards enjoy on special occasions and most Asian tourists end up eating while on vacation. Probably because they prefer the “fishy” type and the restaurants encourage them to do so as the owners make more money.

Actually, the one that I shared this afternoon is the most authentic paella. But there’s another reason why visitors from Formosa will skip it. Rabbits are very popular pets on the island and therefore their meat is kind of taboo. Sometimes I have compared it to the faux-pas of serving dog or cat to Germans!

The three of us discussed the worrisome political situation in Spain, where Socialists and Communists just decided to create an Orwellian Ministry of Truth, abolished Spanish as lingua franca and official language of the state and plan to allow that tax inspectors have access to private homes without a warrant.

The current government took down its mask and it now clearly showing its true, authoritarian face. In consequence, it already has received several warnings from the European Union.

I also heard for the first time the story of singer Julio Iglesias’ supposed illegitimate son, Javier Santos, now 44 years old. In 2019 a local court ruled in his favor, but this summer another revoked the sentence. As the aging heartthrob repeatedly refused a DNA test, the story goes on!

His mother and the man who adopted him as his own offspring lives nearby and both of my friends know all of them in person. So this counts less as gossip but more as news from the hood.

As the cook also lives near the beach, I didn’t waste the chance for a short, very refreshing swim in the Mediterranean. After last week’s heavy storm, the water was still a little muddy. I did see something moving on the ground anyway, though couldn’t identify it.

Although I’m very critical of today’s Spain, especially the fact that the concept “Time is money” doesn’t exist and almost everything takes for ages, spending nine hours cooking, eating and chatting with persons that I have known for decades was truly rewarding.


    • Dear reader, it makes a huge difference if you live in Spain or not. I also would have never imagined getting more or less tired of paella while still living in Taiwan. Nowadays you can actually get quite good varieties on the island, but it´s not omnipresent… In Taipei, no dish dominates the others like paella does here in Valencia.


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