Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to successfully get recipes from your Mama Tica

When abroad-ers first arrive to the country that they’ll spend the next few months in, they tend to have a few goals in mind. Maybe something like, learn the language, take risks, open themselves to new opportunities, mingle with the locals…etc.

These are very logical goals.

Yet, being the food obsessed person that I am, my mind is never off of the thought of my next meal or the next thing that my mouth could potentially love. So obviously, a primary goal of mine, when I first arrived to Costa Rica, was food related. I am striving to find meals that I enjoy (try finding food that I’ve disliked here, that would be easier) and then accumulate as many of those traditional recipes as I can for later use! I want to make sure that when I cook for myself back at home, I’ll have some tasty Costa Rican food options to choose from.

Whether I'm at a soda, a small family-owned restaurant, or at home with my host family, there is an abundance of food that looks and tastes remarkable (probably because most of it isn’t very healthy…but that’s beside the point).

Since it’s not common to ask a restaurant for recipes to their meals, I decided to ask my Mama Tica for the recipes to her delicious delicacies.

You would assume that this would be an easy feat, right? That the conversation would sound something like this:

Me: hola mama, podrias darle las recetas a algunas de las comidas que has hecho recientemente?
-        Hello mama, could you give me the recipes to some of the meals that you have done recently?

MT: si Megan morado, por supuesto! 
-        Yes purple Megan, but of course!
    (She calls me “purple megan” ever since I dyed the ends of my hair purple)
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Life would be too simple if that were the case.

The language barrier wasn’t the problem, because I totally know my Spanish food lingo. More like she has the recipes memorized but does not know the exact amounts, rather she throws food and spices in, and judges it by taste.

Well, this complicates the process to accomplish my goal.

So what does one do at this point?

1.   Give up, possibly sulk a little, and look up Costa Rican recipes online. Hope that the food tastes similarly.

2.     Hang around the kitchen whenever she’s cooking, and slyly note all that she puts into each meal.

3.     Call her “loca” (yes, we’ve gotten to that point in the relationship where teasing is acceptable) and get her to write down the recipe as similarly as she can to the original.

Well, the third option was what I opted to do. As of right now, here are the few recipes I was able to squeeze out of far:

To start off with the simple stuff:

Maracuya juice: Simply cut the maracuya, passion fruit, in half. Scoop out the seeds and the surrounding gelatin and put both in the blender. Add water, ice, and sugar if preferred. Blend until smooth.
“The best batido ever”: Add coconut cream, bananas, pineapple, milk, honey, ice. Blend until smooth.
Pollo dulce: Grill chicken. Heat and mix brown sugar and tomato sauce. Add the mixture to the chicken.
"Tico Tacos"Take Chalupes, Refried beans (1/4 onion, diced,1 clove garlic, diced, 1/4 bell pepper, diced, 4 cups cooked or canned black beans, pureed,1 lime/ juiced, water), lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, beef that is covered abodo sauce.

The recipes that require more work:

Arroz con Pollo
Salsa de tomate

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