Friday, August 1, 2008

Former French Lit Teachers and Paella Pans

I would have stayed inside all day working on the towel rod in the bathroom (day three, and I still don't have those drywall anchors in correctly) but for the mouthwatering memories of eating paella in the Mission.

Last time Dutch and I were at IKEA, I discovered that they not only sell paella pans, but they also publish companion cookbooks. The paella pan was more than I wanted to spend, but the cookbook was cheap. I wondered how those Swedes were going to interpret paella. I flipped through it, and ingredient lists were short, which is generally a good sign.

I was trying to escape getting sucked into the half-finished towel rod disaster this morning, so I decided to go online and peruse the world's kitchen accessory selections. I looked at tagines, dutch ovens, griddles and skillets. It was all very exciting. I would have bought everything I looked at, except the thought of shipping a 35 lb dutch oven half way across the country seemed ridiculous when I could simply drag my lazy ass a few miles across town and I could inspect all the dutch ovens I wanted.



Cookin' is a second-hand gourmet supply store. Dutch and I stumbled in a few months ago for the first time. Crockery, pans, butter dishes, bowls, china, bundt pans, cast iron, copper, cookbooks are all stacked to the ceiling in rickety piles. I always tiptoe very carefully, as there are a million things to break in every corner. I was perusing the butter dishes when a large crashing sound shattered the quiet. The shop-lady started yelling at the culprit, a little 20something hipster in a pink cloche. Then she turned to me and gave me the universal "humans are so stupid" look. She explained that that area was "obviously roped off" and off course anyone stupid enough to ignore the signs got what they deserved. The girl then ran out of the store with her head down. I told her I knew all about people-ignoring-directions because I am a teacher. It turns out that she used to teach 17th century French Lit, but had to quit "because they kept giving me illiterate students." Apparently, its much easier to find the matching bottom and tops of vintage crisscross depressions glass butterdishes (it took five years! she claimed). I bought it, and right now Dutch's special Irish butter is climbing towards room temperature in it. I also bought an ancient griddle with a century of pancake batter-crust intact, a few pyrex mixing bowls, and a gigantic paella dish.

I feel a bit foolish for buying the paella dish, especially since I haven't ever cooked paella in one before, but it was so purty. Tonight, its paella. The language in Ikea's "More than just a Pot" book is a bit strange, as if it was translated by a non-English speaker. I wanted to put a link, but I couldn't find any mention of it on Amazon or Ikea.com. A German website is mentioned in the cover, and I even found their cookbook section, but no mention of my book. They do advertise an intriguing "Amerikan" cookbook. Tonight I am going to attempt "Black Squid Paella."

3 comments:

franny said...

I wish you hadn't mentioned that place. I will soon be moving into Cookin' semi-permanently whilst I outfit my kitchen with more than just my amazing, shiny, ever-so-useful knives.

And have you seen this ? It's like British sketch comedy meets food, and why I know what paella is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfN4_52loC4

rosa said...

I'm tempted sorely by this recipe, but since I hate seafood and don't want to eat any squishness from the ocean (although many love it and the Spaniards do cook things well), I will have to scandalize my mushrooms in some sort of land-based stirfry. But I love your writing, Cam....I don't tell you often enough, but you are my blog hero.
And I tagged you with a little meme.

The Nikkster said...

eeewww...blad squid paella. I'm with rosa on that one. Paella sounds dee-lish, sans seafood.

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