food - Related Content

What About the Food?

Sunday, May 1st 2022 10:44 am

Moving on to the topic that got the most questions - food! Here are the questions, and here are the answers! My apologies for the lack of food photos like last time. I don't bring my phone to the dining room. I think that would be impolite.

Do you like pudding?

Well, yes, yes I do like pudding! We haven’t had any here yet though. But we have had gelatina (jello) and arroz con leche (rice with milk), which are delicious. Normally the gelatina has fresh fruit in it and the arroz con leche is sweetened with sugar, probably a little vanilla and cinnamon. Num!

So you are up and at it for two hours without any breakfast??? I would have such a headache. How do you do it?

Honestly, I hadn’t given it much thought. I wonder if it’s because it’s so early, my stomach isn’t awake enough to be ready for sustenance! I’m not sure, but I did start having a cup of coffee with breakfast in the morning. With these early mornings, a kick-start is needed!

I'm interested in the food with the TSSF sisters.

I would describe the food here as a bit on the more simple side, but very delicious. You don’t have to get too fancy when the food is good!

Here’s what typical meals are like:

Breakfast

For breakfast, we always have pan (bread). The most popular kind includes these small rolls that are either plain, have cheese baked on top, or have a flour and sugar mixture on top. I tend to like the last option the best. Butter and marmalade are made from fruits here to add to the rolls. Then, we always have a cup of coffee. I have found a lovely stevia powder I use as a sweetener. Here, they put a lot of leche (milk) in their coffee, which I appreciate!

Sometimes we have eggs: scrambled over-easy, hard-boiled or soft-boiled. I hadn’t ever had a soft-boiled egg until I came here, and I like them a lot!

Every once in a while, we have something called Locro with breakfast. It’s a slow-cooked stew with hominy and pork. All the Bolivian sisters dig in when it’s made. They say it’s a traditional breakfast here and very special to them.

Finally, there are times we have a variety of different breads in addition to the rolls. There are Cuñapes (rolls with cheese in them), empanadas (for breakfast, normally baked with cheese in them) and a personal favorite – pan de arroz con queso (it’s like rice meal turned into a dough, stuffed with cheese and then fried). I think you might have noticed a trend here. In the tropical zone of Bolivia, where I live, queso is very popular. As a cheese-head, that makes me very happy.

Lunch

Lunch is the big meal of the day, and always starts with sopa (soup). There is great variety in the soups, which are usually flavored with differing kinds of meat and bones. When it’s served, they leave pieces of meat in. When you serve it to yourself, you have the option of taking the meat and eating it as well.

After we finish the soup, the rest of the food is served. Rice is included with almost every meal. Many times, it's mixed with meat and something to make it a little creamy. Eggs are also often served with it. I realize that I'm not describing it very well, but it is very delicious! Other main dishes might include roasted meats, chicharon (which is like fried meat that gets really crispy), or hamburguesa (which are hamburgers, but not on buns like in the US and normally mixed with some bread crumbs and herbs). They really have a large variety of things, and all of them are delightful! I also noticed that the way they cut their meat is different here, and they don’t normally remove the bones.

Besides rice, sides might include potatoes or yucca. Potatoes are the most common in the mountains, and yucca is the most common here because of growing conditions.

We also normally have a vegetable of some sort. Salads are popular, made with lettuce, tomatoes and sprinkled with chives and then doused with lemon juice. We’ve had beets quite often, and they’ve made them mixed with potatoes and mayonnaise in a salad. It was pretty good!

Sometimes we have postre (dessert). The most common includes fresh fruit. Fruit is grown everywhere and so there are lots of different fruits we harvest or purchase at the Mercado (market). We might have papaya, banana, oranges, apples, grapes... We have had gelatina and arroz con leche for dessert in the past too. Sister Scholastica from Cameroon has been making banana cake lately which reminds me of home.

Also served with lunch is refresco. It’s normally a freshly squeezed lemon, grapefruit or sometimes even mandarin juice added to water. It is really refreshing! I appreciate that they don't pre-sweeten it because I'm able to add my stevia if I’m in the mood or just have it without.

Dinner

Dinner is normally the leftover food from lunch. Normally, something extra is fixed so there is enough for everyone. Sometimes they make some chorizo (sausage) from the local butcher which is one of my favorite dinner treats. And other times they make a pasta dish or arroz con queso (rice with cheese).

OK, now I’m hungry. I better go find a snack!

Me gusta comida! Togetherness with Traditional Bolivian Foods

Sunday, February 6th 2022 3:48 pm

Me gusta comida! I love food! We were learning the names of different foods in my Spanish classes and when in conversation if I liked this or that food, my response was usually, "Si! Me gusta comida!"

For me, food is more than just the actual dish. It is conversation, relationship, friendship. It is an expression of love from the person who prepares the food and an expression of togetherness for all who partake. It is a social connection that is formed around the table in which all participants are included and invited to share in life-giving sustenance.

While in Cochabamba, I have had the opportunity to enjoy many meals with my host mother, Anita. She is an excellent cook and always makes healthy and delicious meals. From time to time, Anita brings in a traditional food or we go out for something special. I've been out to a couple meals with others too. And with each meal, there is a growing sense of comfort as well as the bond of getting to know each other. 

Here are a few of the things I have had while I was here. 

Mate con Coca

Api con Pasteles

Sillplancha

Tranca Pecho

 

 

 

 

 

Rellenos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pique Macho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pique Gordito

 

 

 

 

 

Torte and Chocolate Caliente

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me gusta comida! Togetherness with Traditional Bolivian Foods

Sunday, February 6th 2022 3:48 pm

Me gusta comida! I love food! We were learning the names of different foods in my Spanish classes and when in conversation if I liked this or that food, my response was usually, "Si! Me gusta comida!"

For me, food is more than just the actual dish, although the flavor is very important. It is conversation, relationship and friendship. It is an expression of love from the person who prepares the food and an expression of togetherness for all who partake. It is a social connection that is formed around the table in which all participants are included and invited to share in life-giving sustenance.

While in Cochabamba, I have had the opportunity to enjoy many meals with my host mother, Anita. She is an excellent cook and always makes healthy and delicious meals. From time to time, Anita brings in traditional food or we go out for something special. I've been out to a couple of meals with others too. And with each meal, there is a growing sense of comfort as well as the bond of getting to know each other.

Here are a few of the unique foods and drinks I have enjoyed in my time here. I've included some links you can click on to learn more and even see videos about the food and Cochabamba.

Mate Coca

I know I've talked about this before but wanted to give this wonderful tea the spotlight. This is the first traditional item I had when I came here. It is said to help adjust to the altitude. Close your eyes and imagine the smell of freshly cut grass. I've always loved the smell, and now I know I love the flavor too! Mate Coca tastes just like the smell of freshly mowed grass. It is fresh and herbal. Now, each morning and evening, Anita includes this with my meal. It is warming and delicious.

Api con Pastel

I do wish I had remembered to take a photo of this! One evening, not too long after my isolation ended, Anita asked if I wanted to enjoy this traditional treat. The pastel (pastry) is delicious. It's a dough that is deep-fried and poofs up like a big pillow that takes up the whole plate. Inside is a small amount of simple cheese and the top is covered in powdered sugar. You have to deflate the pastry before eating it and puffs of steam escape as it collapses.

You would think that that was the best part of the treat, but no! The Api is a traditional hot drink that is sweet and comes in a glass mug so you can see layers of purple and white. The most amazing part of this drink is that it's made of corn! No fruit added (although I am guessing a fair amount of sugar). The different colors in the glass are actually different kinds of corn. It was thick, creamy and so delicious!

Silpancho

Silpancho is a main dish that consists of a large flat piece of meat, pounded thin and fried with rice, potato, finely diced veggies (tomato and onion) and a fried egg on top. This was the first traditional meal I had and Anita was kind enough to leave it outside my door while I was isolating.

Trancapecho

Imagine taking everything that is in a Silpancho, sticking it in a bun and you've got Trancapecho! Inside the bun are some potato, rice, beef, egg and a tomato-onion mixture. I added a bit of the Picante peppers too. This was such a fun treat. On a chilly, rainy night we drove to La Isla, a drive-up grouping of restaurants that offer sandwiches and other food prepared quickly and served on plastic tables - or to go of course. We decided to eat there and I had the BEST time trying to eat this sandwich. It was so good! I am not an experienced Trancapecho eater though, so I made such a mess. I also had a traditional juice that is popular in Cochabamba that is flavored with cinnamon and has a peach pit on the bottom of each glass.

Rellenos

One afternoon for lunch, Anita surprised me with Rellenos! When I first saw them they looked like large fried potatoes but after I cut into mine, wow! It was a work of art. Inside the delicious ball of mashed potato, there was a hard-boiled egg surrounded by meat (beef and chicken) and veggies. The whole thing is fried. They were really great. These were originally made as a handheld lunch that was quick to eat (and delicious!)

 

 

 

Pique Macho

This may be the most fun out of all the traditional foods I have tried. We ordered it for dinner before going to the Parque de la Familia on Wednesday evening. This dish is made to share. On a large platter, the first layer is a mound of fried potatoes, a lot like potato wedges. On top of that, there is a delicious, marinated beef. On top of that is a healthy number of sliced hot dogs (I really appreciate the respect they give to hot dogs here). There are a few tomatoes, a few green peppers and it's all topped with onion. It's not in the photo, but there's also a hard-boiled egg. Served on the side is a thin beef sauce as well as mayo, ketchup and mustard. Eight of us split two platters and it was difficult to finish!

You may notice a pitcher next to the pique macho. At the restaurants I have been to, they offer freshly made juice. This one was passion fruit. I had a little, and it was delicious. I had to save my carbs for the potatoes though. I admit, it has proven difficult to be low-carb here!

 

Pique Gordo

Later in the week, my friend Victor and I went out to lunch after CLIMAL, our language school, took us on a fun tour of Cochabamba. Victor hadn't been with us for the last pique so we decided to get it at La Casa de Gordo for lunch. It was SO BIG! On top of the traditional toppings, the dish also included a piece of chicken, an extra egg, a plantain, a chorizo and meat that we weren't sure about. (Later Victor figured it out - cow udder!) We both ate some of everything and didn't come close to finishing it. Lesson learned for next time - bring a couple more friends for pique!

Torte and Chocolate Caliente

I considered not including what I enjoyed at the Chocolateria because it's not traditional but in the end, I decided to anyway. Sister Tere, a Dominican sister living in Cochabamba, and I went here to have coffee. Well, she ended up having fruit tea and I decided to have a hot chocolate as a treat. I also had a piece of torte as a treat too! The cake was delicious with layer after layer of cake and filling. I am only sad I couldn't try them all. As you can see though, they were huge! This is not the best photo, but you can see half of a mug next to it. That was my hot chocolate. It came out and had three jumbo marshmallows on top, torched just a little bit so they were golden brown. What was amazing was how the chocolate was more like melted chocolate and so rich and wonderful - like they didn't put water or milk was added. Sister Tere knows the owner and told me she has traveled the world to find the best way to make all of her creations. I can't imagine having anything better.


There are a few things I would still like to try including Sopa de Mani (peanut soup) and Chicharrón (grilled pork). I only have two weeks left here so I am not sure if I will get the chance but I am hopeful!

Once I arrive in Santa Cruz, there are all different traditional dishes so I will have to start over. That sounded like I wasn't looking forward to it. Really, I can't wait! I hear rumors that they are known for their cheeses, so I am looking forward to that! Also, fruit is popular in Santa Cruz's tropical climate, so it will be fun to try some new types of fruits.

(I just had to include this photo of Coca-Cola sin azucar (without sugar). I have been here for over a month and only had soda twice. It's a special treat for me and went great with the Pique Gordo!)

May you all find some togetherness around a dinner table sometime soon - God bless!

Sister Pauline's Six Word Mission Story

Tuesday, February 21st 2017 10:00 am
Sister Pauline Wittry, FSPA

 

food-service-chaplaincy-training-travel-world-Pauliine-Wittry-Show-Me-a-Sign

Are you willing to share (post a comment below) your own Six Word Mission Story?

Grilling, chilling and discernment

Thursday, July 28th 2016 12:30 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


smoking-grill-trees-lake

Image by Sister Amy Taylor

When I think of summer I revel in the possibilities of beautiful weather and time to slow down, relax and reconnect in person (not through Facebook) with family and friends. And with record high temperatures across the upper Midwest the media advises moving at a snail’s pace to save energy and stay coolanother change in our tempo.

Letting go of the urge to hurry in every moment—when the time comes to stop working and get to a gathering, when we can't rush around in the heat doing what we think we have to do quickly—can be difficult. After all, American culture demands instant results. I came face-to-face with this reality while vacationing for a week with my FSPA sisters. One day we decided to grill hamburgers for our evening meal. Typically, after a full day of ministry, we run home to quickly cook and put dinner on the table. Charcoal grills, however, can have cooking minds of their own: run hot and cold in the wind and placement of the coals; temperamental to the skill level of the one flipping the food. Grilling is not an instantaneous process but when you're on vacation, why rush? Why not enjoy the experience?

If you dig deeper into the coals, grilling can offer wisdom for the discernment process. Controlling an open flame takes a careful eye. Too much oxygen and the flames might jump wildly, too little and the coals can suffocate. Smoke can obscure vision and make breathing difficult. Multitasking or walking away can result in a seriously overdone dinner. In a matter of a few moments burgers can go from perfection to charred hockey pucks.

Just like grilling, rushing discernment can spark out-of-control flames, become all consuming, or stifle it out completely. Smoke in discernment can cloud vision; can surface in the form of anything that encourages distraction from the very personal and mindful process. The same holds true of too much trepidation thatlike putting the lid on the grillcan snuff out gifts and talents, slowly suffocate bright flames. 

Yet if we take the time to be attentive to the process we will discover our unique discernment temperature. Letting the coals of discernment provide the necessary inspiration can lead to sweet success, just like the enjoyment of roasting marshmallows in the dusk of a summertime barbeque.

Are you taking time this summer to nurture the coals and fan the flames in your life?

In the spirit of thanksgiving to God

Thursday, November 28th 2019 7:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Gather with gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day.

table-placemat-napkin-plate-thankful

As we gather around the table in a spirit of thanksgiving to God for the blessings of friends, family, community and food, may we also reach out to those who are separated from loved ones, those who are mourning losses, and those who are homeless or hungry. May we also remember in our prayers of thankfulness all those who have grown, harvested and prepared the food that graces our tables today.


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