First off I must apologize to my Aunt; she said I use some inappropriate language in this blog, haha. Seriously I do try to keep the language tame however; some stories just lose their flair when you lose the language. Sorry Aunt Jacque, had to call you out.
Alright some new topics, second cooking class is under the belt. This class I deemed quite a success as probably 10 women and over 10 children showed up. I’m teaching class about every two weeks so I’m trying to do two recipes per class. To me this is just easier and more involved then doing once recipe per week. As many of you know during cooking there are often times where you just sit there and stir noodles or wait for something to bake. Thus, I am trying to use two similar recipes that can be made at the same time and thus cut out the akward silences. Thus this class we made some Macaroni and Cheese and then a mix of some soy meat and some vegetables mixed with lots of spices.
First the soy meat was a mix of success and failure. Soy is tough to cook with because it literally has no flavor or a slightly bad flavor, thus you need to use a lot of spices to make it taste good. Also the texture is not the most enticing, you never hear anyone craving some soy. This is why you don’t see it on too many menus back in the US. But anyways, this is also what made it difficult to cook here as Nica´s do not see the value of spices and thus don’t purchase them. Well I managed to use some cheap spices and lots of chile and the crowd was about 50-50 so I take that as a success.
Well the Mac and Cheese was a huge success. I know many of you are thinking that this is the easiest thing in the world to make but remember that they only make rice and beans here. Thus it’s a cheap easy alternative to rice and beans. Oh, and that’s another thing I am trying to emphasize in this class is that there are dinner alternatives to rice and beans which costs the same or less money. I think the main reason rice and beans are such a staple is that they grow the beans here, thus they have what equates to an unlimited supply. I am trying to demonstrate that they can sell these beans and use the profit to make a dinner that costs less. Well I think it was a 100% vote in favor of the good ole American classic.
Oh and I actually had a request for the recipe on how to make Peanut Butter, thanks grandma for reading. Anyway it’s amazingly simple and even easier for you people back in the states with electric grinders. First you buy unsalted peanuts without the shells. If you’re making just for yourself a half pound should be good, for a larger family go for a whole pound. Second, toast the peanuts on the stove top. You do this for a couple reasons, one it helps bring out the natural oils of the peanut and second toasted peanuts taste so much better. Once you have finished toasting the peanuts, grind the peanuts. Depending if you like smooth or crunchy you can change how long you grind the peanuts for. Then you just mix the peanuts with either sugar or honey to sweeten the peanut butter. My recommendation is to use honey as it allows use to use less oil and I think a better flavor. Then add oil to help the spreadability of the peanut butter. (Yes, spell check is telling me that spreadability is not a word, but you know what I like it so Im leaving it). There you have it, can´t get much simpler then that for a product they charge an arm and a leg for in the grocery store. Three simple ingredients and you get heaven…
Ladies and Cowboy
So I was thinking the other day of interesting little tidbits I could include about Nicaragua and it hit me as I was walking into the bathroom. See I walked past the ladies bathroom, easily translated as Damas. Usually I don’t even look at what’s written on the door, rather I only look for that universally known picture for a men’s bathroom. Well I happened to look up and saw ¨Cabelleros¨ which caught me a little off guard. See the translation for male would be ¨Hombre¨ or ¨Masculino¨ among many other possible choices. Cabellero instead means… Cowboys. Yup, I can truly say I am a Cowboy, I have finally accomplished my goal of when I was three years old!
I know I have mentioned it before as a spectator sport. Well, I walked out of my house last week and heard a group of guys making some noise about 100 feet from my house. I thought what the heck, why not check it out. See it was a Tuesday afternoon and work had been finished for the day so there wasn’t much to do. Well boys will be boys, and boys in the campo of Nicaragua ride bulls for fun. They aren’t like the bulls back in the states, rather large cows. But, yes they do give a good ride and need a large pair to hop on. However, as we are over 40 minutes from the closest hospital, bull riding will remain a spectator sport for me. Oh, and for you that believed me about a month ago when I said I actually rode a bull, you gots to be crazy!
Well you know every once in a while you hear your doorbell ring and you think, who in the hell is ringing the doorbell; either that or you think ´I didn’t even know we still have that annoying thing´. Then you open the door and you see two little dorks wearing short sleeve white dress shirts and ties, and yes matching pocket protectors. You wonder if they are coming to fix your computer or what and then you see they are carrying bibles. Yes it’s the infamous Jehovah’s Witnesses, well im sorry to inform you that even out here in the middle of nowhere Nicaragua you cannot escape them. I know what your wondering right now is how do you translate Jehovah into Spanish, well it’s the same, Jehova, I know this because they asked me to read from their bible and it was the only word I understood. (A little side note, God in Spanish is Dios, can someone answer me why ´the Creator´ of all has to translate his name in different languages, don’t you think he’s a little above that?)
Anyway the Jehovah witnesses here are not dressed in the traditional white shirt and tie, instead I was greeted by one beautiful girl and what appeared to be her mother. Oh and yes both were Latin American. So I was tempted to ask if I convert if the daughter can stay and teach me the good book. But no, instead I was a good little boy and pretended like I didn’t understand Spanish, which is at least half true. It’s funny sometimes when I don’t want to be part of a conversation I can just claim I don’t understand and easily get out of it. Anyway, its funny to then hear the mother figure tell the daughter in Spanish that I am a foreigner. Like duh, I’m sitting here in the middle of a community where my skin is much lighter then everyone else’s and I am a good six inches to a foot taller then everyone and she’s not quite sure if im a foreigner. I just about cracked up, it’s amazing they actually believe I live out here and can’t speak Spanish. So back to the point, you can’t get rid of them you just have to live with them.
(Please don’t take this as putting down the religion, rather take it as the funny story that it is. I don’t think I have any Jehovah’s witnesses reading this blog but if there are, I have nothing against the Religion. As a matter of fact I couldn’t tell you anything about the religion.)
What is that eating my flowers?
So I know a lot of you reading this have gardens or flowers and sometimes complain about insects or on rare occasions deer eating your prized flours. Well today I think I managed to top all those stories. Today I am sitting in my hammock and I hear something out in my yard. Not a big deal as there are usually some chickens or dogs who enter my yard and look for some food. As I never really have anything they like to eat they usually are just passing through, not a big deal. Well this thing sounded a little bigger then a dog and was eating what sounded like my flowers. Well take a minute and go back to the picture of my house... look closely and you can see that to get into my yard you have to climb four stairs. Well I get out of my hammock, and as you can guess when someone ends your relaxing time your not the happiest camper. Well I go out the front door and I am greeted my a big fat ass, yes a COW climbed my stairs and was eating my flowers, did you know cows can climb stairs? I sure didn’t.
Well that was only my first problem as now I have to figure out to get this huge thing OUT of my yard. See there is only one entrance and exit, the front gate, and when I walked out of the house I spooked the stupid thing and it walked away from the exit. My first thought is where are some of those little rug rats that are always bothering me, the same ones that leave my front gate open to let this thing in. Of course, none in site, which ended up being a good thing as no one was there to laugh at me trying to get this cow out of my front yard. So after about five minutes of me waving my arms like a crazy man and hitting it with a couple small rocks if finally left my yard. Just another experience I will never have back in the good ole US of A.
On a sad note…
I gave away my puppy, Torpe. See I was given it as a gift from my host family. In total here were four puppies, the family kept one and gave away the other three. Well four days ago the families puppy died, thus the eleven year old daughter was quite sad. Being that they only live two houses away I offered to give them my dog. I figure this saves me three headaches, first I am out of my house a lot for Spanish classes and visiting friends and thus the family was taking care of the dog quite frequently for me anyways. Second the cost of food is quite expensive as she continues to grow and third the cat and her were beginning to fight a lot as the kittens are starting to grow and roam the house. Well the girl was quite happy to have a new puppy and quickly accepted. So I figured if she’s just two houses down and going to a good family it won’t be a big deal.
Well my puppy is quite prized in the community and that same day four people heard that I gave them my dog and asked the family if they could have the dog. They immediately turned down all the offers. However, the next day they decided that the dog was too accustomed to my house and would just keep coming back to my house. Thus they decided to give it away. The family they gave it to is a good family, the wife is the youngest sister of my counterpart. Her parents are actually the previous volunteers host family and thus when I visit them she is usually there. However now instead of lying around my house all day she will be working in the fields. Luckily the dog is still in my community but it’s a good five minute walk from my house…
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