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Frogger Goes To CR

Not My Kitchen

COSTA RICA | Sunday, 26 October 2008 | Views [413]

We’ve been having delicious meals made by different volunteers each night. Presentation ranged in color and flavor. Everything made from scratch, even the salad dressing, and salads were typically harvested from the garden right before consumption. Dinner conversation generally revolved around cooking tips and appreciation for the good meal. When it was my turn, I wanted to make gallo pinto, the traditional rice and beans, with a side of veggies. I chose to make rice and beans because I wanted to learn how to make a mean pot of beans from scratch, rather than relying on the cans as I had been in the past (shame shame…). I did not want to harvest the veggies from the garden, because at this point, I was uncertain which plants I could and could not use. To be safe, I picked up a cabbage from the market earlier in the day for stir fry. I started the beans the day before it was “my night,” and judiciously followed the instructions from the bean masters on site. When it came time to prepare for dinner, I noticed that a pot of coconut rice was already made from the morning not yet touched. So I got permission from the lady who made it to have it for dinner. Now I just had to figure out how I would heat up this pot of rice, given that we did not have a microwave. Mind you, this kitchen is old school. It's a gas stove of two burners. A lighter or match is required to get the fire started once the gas is turned on. Having limited experience with this, I tended to be slow in getting the fire going as I was always afraid of burning my hand. There I was thinking, one burner to heat up the rice and another burner for the beans that’s been stewing... OK, everything was going according to plan and under control. Then the lady decided to eat the rice with her son, while I was chopping cabbage. Before I knew it, I was left with half a pot of rice, certainly not enough for everyone at dinner. The beans were not quite done yet, the rice needs to be heated up and more rice and cabbage still need to be cooked… Amidst of everything I was trying to do, I ended up putting too much water in the rice to cook on the stovetop, so it became porridge. The beans were not as soft was they could’ve been. The cabbage wasn’t as delicious as the veggies from the garden. And the lady and her son decided not to have dinner but did not tell me. It was a dinner consumed in complete silence, a stark contrast between the night before and the night after. In my defense, I’d like to say it was NOT MY KITCHEN.

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