Memory is a funny thing. Sometimes it seems the most unusual thing triggers a long buried memory.
For me, the trigger was trying to describe the fruit here. And, the memory was a children’s book: The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear. I think the title sufficiently tells the plot, but what I remembered is in this story; the Big Hungry Bear smells this strawberry from miles away.
I believe this story is actually an allegory. The authors were clearly relaying their experience with Caribbean fruit! The bear is the gringo, the strawberry is pineapple, passion fruit or mango and the great lengths the bear goes to steal the strawberry and the great lengths the mouse goes to protect it are symbolize just how good the fruit is.
In Spanish I’ve discovered they use a variety of words to describe eating or tasting their food: “Saborear”, “degustar”, “probar”, “catar” and “paladear” are just five and they all translate to “to taste” or “savor” in English, but in Spanish they are more subtle. And, here, more words are useful because there are more flavors to taste. Here I’ll share a little about my food experience here.
I’m staying with a lady who as far as I can tell is the best cook on the island. She also happens to be my boyfriend’s mother… which means I really have to work to impress him with my cooking skills.
Speaking of impressive cooking skills, here is a little anecdote of my first try at cooking on my own here:
Shortly after I arrived here, I wanted to cook something for dinner – try and carry a little of my weight (and maybe try and make a good impression on the BF’s family too). Of course Dominicans are known for their great hospitality so it took some convincing to let the guest do work in the kitchen. I was going to make a wild rice, salad and bake some chicken… and I was going to show them that I could cook!
You know that pride cometh before the fall.
I put the chicken in the toaster oven at 350 for about 25min, just like I would at home. When the timer went off I took it out and cut into a piece of chicken: cooked but still juicy. Perfect, I thought. I’ll show them some good, healthy American cooking (since we aren’t exactly known for our healthy eating in the US). Everything was ready so I set the table and we ate.
And we cut into the chicken… and it was juicy, and it wasn’t overcooked. But the juice was a little on the red side and it was undercooked!
Thankfully and not surprisingly, my boyfriend’s family was kind to me. And since then I have gotten cooking lessons from his mom, whom like I said, as far as I can tell, is the best cook on the island.
Here are a few pictures of traditional Dominican food I’ve been having here:
Life’s short so let’s start with dessert:
In the DR they have a huge variety of starchy vegetables. Here are a few:
Memory is a funny thing. Sometimes it seems the most unusual thing triggers a long buried memory.So there you have it: a little picture of some Dominican food. Take a look at Dominicancooking.com for some great pictures and recipes. And stay tuned! Next time I promise I’ll post my own pictures.
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