Sunday, June 2, 2013

Food--One of my Favorite Subjects :)

Day 9
June 2, 2013

What a lazy Sunday morning—I slept until 7:15! I was glad to see most of my host family did as well.

On the evening news yesterday, they had a segment on the Oklahoma tornadoes. Most of it was a storm chaser’s video that they played three times. I could not understand what was being said—he was talking too fast, but I think it was something along the lines of, “these people who willingly chase tornadoes are crazy.”  It is strange seeing clips so near my home on TV in a 2nd world country.

I am getting used to the food here. It is not spicy. In fact, I always add chile pepper to whatever is on my plate. One of the more common dishes here is gallo pinto—rice and blacks beans mixed. It is often served with breakfast. I have had gallo pinto with a fried egg, gallo pinto with fried plantains, and gallo pinto with a piece of fried ham. I have had a few breakfast omelets with cheese from the local cheese factory. Sometimes there will be fresh bread and either butter or cream cheese. There is a sour cream like sauce called nataña (another spelling I am sure I am butchering). It is yummy and is sometimes served with plantains. Yesterday morning, everyone put it on their gallo pinto and plantains, which seemed weird to me. It is sweeter than a sour cream, and thinner too, so I can’t picture putting it on something savory.

We eat lunch on our own most days. Costa Ricans don’t seem to eat out, so the restaurants are geared to tourists and as such, are more expensive. They are probably still cheaper than most places back home, but given that I almost always take my lunch, I am not used to spending so much to eat. We had some good pizza Friday at a place run by an Italian man. It was the super thin crust variety with minimal toppings that I love. We have had tacos—which here are usually topped with a slaw of sorts. The disappointing thing to me was that they were wrapped in flour tortillas. No bueno.

Dinner almost always includes rice and black beans. My tico mama has a pressure cooker, which she uses often. Last night, dinner was black beans, rice, fried plantains, and an omelet with a piece of cheddar on top. Friday night, we had ollo de carne, which is a stew like soup made with beef, potatoes, yucca, chayote squash, carrots, and cilantro. It was served with rice. We have also had rice, beans, and some kind of stewed chicken. One night, we had arroz con pollo, which was seasoned rice and shreds of chicken. It was served with refried black beans.  I have not had bread served with dinner, only breakfast.

Mama tica serves up the food in the kitchen, and then tells Victoria or me whose plate it is, and we place it at the table. No one gets seconds. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing—you eat what is given to you and that’s all you get, or like in my case, the serving sizes are more than adequate so there is no need for seconds.

All of the food is made from scratch—fresh vegetables, rice and beans of course, and whatever meat is served. I haven’t had any processed food. I did see typical snack foods in the grocery store such as chips and cookies, but little of the premade meals that passes for food in the US. Mama tica makes huge amounts of beans weekly, using the pressure cooker. None of the canned beans here!

OK, I suppose it is time to get a move on the day. Later today, the Texas A&M girls and I are going horseback riding somewhere. It should be fun!
 Ollo de Carne before I added rice. I had mashed up the veggies some

 Gallo Pinto, ham, plantains for breakfast

The farmhouse meal after our Trapiche tour. Chicken, salad, cheese, yucca, rice, beans, vegetables

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