EARTH WEEK-END: FOSSIL FREE PAELLA

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So . . . my fossil free Earth Week stretched into Fossil Free nine days around Earth Day. Just had to try out the new wood fire paella pan stand.  There is always a little more deadwood in the backyard to burn.  So we invited some friends, neighbors, and family over for a meal in which no planets were killed.

A true seafood paella has lots of shellfish in it. Mussels score high on the Monterey Bay sustainability guide. But octopus and squid can be problematic.  US caught are best, but are hard to find. And, though I already knew farmed Asian shrimp was an environmental disaster, I was shocked to see an analysis suggesting that a pound of farmed shrimp is the equivalent of one ton of carbon dioxide emissions — about the same as a 100 gallons of gasoline. For comparison, a pound of beef is about the equivalent of 28 pounds of carbon dioxide.  So farmed shrimp would be close to 100 times worse for the climate, ounce for ounce, than beef. One pound would be 25% of my carbon budget for the whole year!

So after a lovely bike ride to Haverstraw and back, and calling ahead to be sure, I hopped in the electric car to provision at the Fairway in Nanuet, where they were selling what they assured me were wild caught, USA shrimp. The paella campfire worked like a charm, the sofrito simmering its fragrance into the evening air, and a crispy socarrat at the bottom that only a wood fired paella can deliver. Robin served an apple “crisp” cooked in the solar oven. A pleasant time was had by all. Sorry, no leftovers.

Robin threw all the plates into the dishwasher, and hinted that there should be hot water in the morning to run it. I went down into the cellar to turn the water heater back on and light the pilot. Back to a low fossil life, just not a fossil free life.

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