Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A little sour cream with that?

On the topic of food
Like a lot of chubby people out there, I like to eat.  Food is amazing.  This isn't to say I never eat just to eat.  Sometimes when I'm sad or angry I find solace in salty fast food fries, coupled with a  cheeseburger or two. Those are hard habits to break, but perhaps even harder is my addiction to butter. I can't say I'm ready yet. It's just so good.
It has been hard for me to have so little say in what I eat here. I love to cook. I like the preparing, I like the sizzle of garlic going into a hot pan with some butter.  Onions caramelizing. Oh my. The changes that take place astound me. Tasting a dish, thinking that something is missing and selecting a pinch of something unexpected is enthralling. Then enjoying food with friends who can taste the love, it's priceless. I don't want to imply that my host Mom hasn't made amazing food while I've been here. Entirely the opposite.  I still, after 8 months of rice and beans at least twice a day, love the food that comes out of Cecilia's kitchen. There is no shortage of fruits and vegetables here, and the food is flavorful and satisfying. I never had any idea that rice, beans, and a few slices of avocado could be so delicious. Add a farm fresh fried egg and you've got my favorite "country" food here in Costa Rica. Oh my gosh, add a few of those pan fried chips I get ever now and again... It's something to write home about, as you can see.  Maybe it's that I'm a control freak in the kitchen that makes me miss cooking, but really, food is magic and I love being able to interact with it.
I have four months left here (a little less even) and as much as time has flown by, I already find myself dreaming about the first meal I'll have in Orlando back in the States. I kinda want Indian food, maybe that spinach and cheese dish that I'm blanking on the name of. (Spinach is hard to come by for some reason, here in the land of green.)  I think part of what I miss is the amazing range of foods that one can get in the United States. A misconception here is that since we don't eat rice and beans at every meal in the United States we must just eat hamburgers and pizza all the time. Yeah, I eat that, but there is so much more to food in the US. But... Lest I digress.
There is some food here that I am going to miss a ton. Hopefully I can request the aforementioned meal as my last supper with my family, but on the day when it's just me getting a last lunch before getting on a plane, I want to eat a whole loaf of soft French bread with sour cream.  And I mean whole hog dipping.  Oh my gosh that's good. I vaguely remember that being a strange combination when I was first here. But now I know how good it is to dip fluffy bread into a plate of tangy sour cream, I really can't remember. Haven't I been doing that all my life?  I should have been if I wasn't. Hence the title "gordita," or "fatty" (said in a loving way? Though Ticas big and small carry themselves with pride, something that amazes me verses the US's stance on being overweight.)
Today I had some bread and sour cream with my coffee and started dreaming about how to reproduce it in the States.  Sour cream is totally different here: it's thinner but still full of flavor. The bread is, to be honest, a little lacking when it comes to crust for my taste. My mind is a tizzy of ideas about this combo. Sour dough bread?  Mixing  sour cream with a little water, little salt and possibly a smidgen of vinegar?  Throwing the sour cream in before baking? Oh what fun it will be. If anyone has any ideas let me know. Meanwhile I should probably focus on lesson plans for tomorrow....