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:
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 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 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!