Unseasonal eater’s guilt

This weekend I wanted to make paella. The first (and last) time I made paella was just before I moved to San Francisco. But after walking through the farmer’s market I realized that two major ingredients were not in season: tomatoes and bell peppers. So unless I wanted to make carrot-tangerine paella, I was going to have to go to the supermarket.

I’ve got nothing against the supermarket. I just got back from one tonight. I go to one every 2-3 weeks. But this was the first time I felt a twinge of guilt for not being able to use seasonal ingredients in something I wanted to cook. I blame Michael Pollan. Going to Whole Foods would be like admitting defeat. Like cheating. Seriously though, The Omnivore’s Dilemma is amazing.

I could have adjusted course and made something other than paella, which is a late summer Spanish dish anyway, not an early spring dish. But nothing else was really striking my fancy, and cheating was so easy. So I picked up two perfect bell peppers that came all the way from Mexico, and a bunch of vine-ripened tomatoes from who knows where. I wish it wasn’t so easy to cheat. The price of fuel and imported food may start to change that. We’ll see. Next time maybe I’ll make carrot soup.

In any case, the paella turned out smashingly. We made a ton, which thankfully Ivan and Erini came over to help us eat.

Chicken paella

1 Comment


Quick book recommendation based on what you say about using seasonal ingredients, a book called “Paradiso Seasons”, which is a vegetarian cook book (but don’t let that put you off). In fact it is one of the best vegetarian books I’ve ever come across, it comes from a wonderful vegetarian restaurant called The Cafe Paradiso (http://www.cafeparadiso.ie) which is in Cork in the south of Ireland. The writer is passionate about vegetables (in a good way!) and creates some unusual (and often challenging complex) combinations of seasonal ingredients.


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