Community Cooks: Make Paella Foil Supper on the grill

Lynn Ford may be the epitome of an Atlanta community cook.

Ford has been featured in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution a number of times. Last August, she shared her thoughts about cooking with fresh figs, including baking them folded with puff pastry and brie.

Right now, though, Ford is on furlough from her job as director of operations for Presenting Atlanta, and she’s been cooking more than ever.



“Just to stay busy, I’ve tried to cook and take dinners at least one time to everybody that worked in my office, because most everybody there is furloughed, too,” she said.

Among the favorite recipes she’s been running through lately: Aunt Cindy’s banana bread; red pepper jelly; Mississippi pot roast; barbecue meatloaf; baked risotto with peas and mushrooms; and coconut ice cream balls.

But, even though she has a host of tried-and-true recipes, Ford continues to tweak them, sometimes for fun, and sometimes out of necessity.

“Another thing about cooking during the pandemic, it’s not about what you can go to the grocery store and buy, it’s about using what you have,” she said. “I was making a tomato pie, and I had no pie crust, so I used saltines to make a cracker crust. It’s the best tomato pie I ever made.”

She also has tweaked a summer grilling recipe her friend called Tin Pan Paella, renaming it Paella Foil Supper, because she not only decided to use different ingredients, but also wrapped the pie pan in foil to keep it from dripping into the fire.

“I am a mother of two boys, and this recipe originated from my friend, Cathy Ratigan, another mother of boys,” Ford said. “She has a place on Lake Oconee, and we agree, summer meals need to have as little prep as possible. But, they need to be hearty and fun, with lots of choices for flavors.”

Ford said cooking provides instant gratification, and she considers sharing recipes an act of love.

“I do feel that recipes are like love — you need to spread them around,” she said. “My biggest pet peeve in life is people who don’t share recipes.”


For this versatile one-dish meal for the grill, you can customize each pan and use what you like to layer the paella. Lynn Ford likes to add a few banana peppers from a jar. And, she said, it’s fun to have a “build your own” supper party, with multiple pans. Her trick is wrapping the pie pan in foil, so it doesn’t drip over the edges.

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