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I’m just mad about saffron. No there’s more, I’m mad about the Amanda Knox trial, standardized testing, and a storm drain that runs beneath our property.

This memory flashes in my mind. Kendall was just two weeks old when a bastard pediatrician had the nerve to give her immunization shots with needles. She was the first person to make my daughter cry. I was a brand new mom who was feeling the first, most horrible pangs of someone hurting my baby. We were in living in Chicago then. Immediately after the assault, while Kendall was still heaving and quivering in sobs, I packed her into the green Peg Perego stroller. It was the Cadillac of prams with giant white tires. The only one able to suspend the buckled sidewalks of Lincoln Park. I barrelled through the neighborhood with tears rolling down both of our faces, racing to get her back to the safety of the bear cave where I could protect her for the rest of our lives. Still to this day I do not regret telling that postman to “move out of the effin’ way before I run over your come rain or shine boots.”

So here we are seventeen years later.

She is scaling Mount Senior Year with another ambitious curriculum only to be topped by the rigor of tests, applications, and personal statements. How can she possibly convey to strangers all that makes her remarkable?

And I guess in this weird way it’s why I cannot get Amanda Knox out of my mind. I realize she is climbing a different mountain of unfathomable heights, but I can’t help but feel something maternal for her. I hear her parents tell how they are not allowed to even give nods or smiles to their daughter during this trial. They can’t voice their true feelings in interviews for fears of being charged with slander when they just want to say “move out of the way you effin’ prosecutor, let me get my baby back home where she is safe.” On Monday, Amanda will speak in her defense, making her case to strangers who will decide her fate. And her parents will sit behind her only able to offer her the support of being present when they want to do so much more.


And although storm drains don’t much matter in life and death unless the fight about a storm drain with the city engineer in Los Angeles kills me; it has become the undesired focus of the week. It too raised my ire because it stood in the way of my other baby, the son, getting his much-deserved bedroom upstairs with the rest of us. I know it’s all about protection for both the city and us and when much is at stake we all go a little mad.

And so there is no possible gracious transition from protection to paella, but let’s start with a glass of wine and the groovy chill way to prepare this one pot meal that will make even the most emotionally charged weeks simmer better. We’ll call it Mellow Yellow. Okay that wasn’t so abrupt that you needed a transition seat beat.

Paella, if you have never made it, is nothing more than a rice-based dish with Spanish seasonings at very least saffron & olive oil.



Paella, like risotto, starts with a rice that will absorb a lot of liquid, usually bomba.



From there, you decide the vegetables and proteins. Most Spanish Paella calls for tomatoes, garlic, chicken, spicy sausage such as chorizo, but the Mediterranean style also includes seafood. We used shrimp and a mild sausage…more spanglish version.


First cook proteins that need to heat through, like chicken and sausage, in the pan you will use for the paella.


Remove proteins and saute vegetables.


Add the rice and slightly brown. This seals the outer layer of the rice so it doesn’t break down when liquid is added.


Add heated chicken stock, about a cup at a time, until it is absorbed. Add wine to your mouth, a sip at a time, until it is absorbed.


Add in saffron about mid-way. If you don’t know, saffron,the dried stigma of a crocus flower,is the most expensive flavor packed spice around. My coveted supply came from my sister who picked it up in Turkey for me. Like I said, coveted.


Place fish and seafood in toward the end of the cooking process when you still have a round or two of broth left.


Bring the pan over to the table and serve.

Paella is one of those hearty, healthy meals that helps keeps everyone going while at the same time feels like a comfort food. And maybe a good meal is the best thing we can do for our family when we there’s not much else we can do.





spanglish paella

preptime 10 minutes serves 6-8

cooktime 30-40 minutes

2 large links of mild seasoned poultry sausages such as mild Italian, chicken apple

1 1/2 c paella rice

2/3 c onion

2/3 c red pepper

3 garlic cloves minced

1 lb shrimp

1/2 t saffron

32 oz of chicken stock

salt to taste

olive oil

  1. Heat 12″ paella pan, okay who really has a paella pan, or 12″ pan on medium heat and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Add sausages and cook, turning occasionally to brown on all sides.
  3. Remove sausage from the pan and slice into 1/2 ” disks.
  4. Heat 1 t olive oil in the same pan.
  5. Add onion and red pepper; cook 5 minutes until soft.
  6. Add garlic and rice. Stir rice.
recipe provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com


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