Today marks 2 months of my being here. The time has gone by fast. I’m not sure what happened to March. It was there and then it was gone. Today I’ve decided to do something I’ve never done before. I’ve decided to separate one day into two different blogs. I just couldn’t put them together for reasons that will become obvious when you read both blogs. To start, the food blog. Two lovely things happened to me today leading me to the belief that the food gods are laughing at me:
#1. I clearly remember on February 15 when the ladies bought dried fish at the beach (Playa El Espino) and brought it home to the house. I said to Kathy, “Are they going to make us eat that?” and she kind of gave me a weird look and said, “No.” Well, guess what was served at the Pastoral House today for lunch. That's right. Deep fat fried dried fish with all the scales and fins still attached that cooked for almost an hour. At first I couldn’t figure out what they were cooking. I knew it was some sort of seafood but I thought it was crab. I saw some live crabs at the house yesterday but I have no idea where they went.
Luckily, before they served it to me they asked me if I liked it. I said no so I wasn't served any. Then I decided I needed to take a no thank you bite. I explained to them that even though I didn't think I'd like it that I at least needed to try it. It wasn’t horrible. It tasted like dehydrated fish cooked in hot oil. One thing is for sure and that is that it wasn’t as bad as the fish soup (torta de pescado) which is like bread pudding with minced fish sitting in a fishy soup that I have eaten here on three occasions.
Apparently, Kathy has never been served fried dried fish and I would like to know why. She said it was because they really love her but I rebutted that comment by saying they feel so close to me that they wanted to share something special with me that she never had. Yeah, either way I think I got the short end of the stick. But it was a good experience and actually led to an interesting conversation about dried fish and the process of making this dried fish. Blanca told me that dried fish is cheap so it’s one thing that a lot of families in the cantons purchase. Plus it lasts a long time. Many people in the cantons close to the Lempa River also make it because fish is more abundant. It’s dried by putting salt all over the fish and setting the fish in the sun. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that the food packets given to the communities contain so much salt.
#2. My second reason food has disagreed with me today: Let me begin by saying that I do not like broccoli. I never have. But since I’ve been here I’ve decided that I need to try more foods and eat more vegetables. Around a month ago we were also served broccoli and I decided to eat it. Almost as soon as I’d finished eating lunch I felt a terrible pain and swelling in my lower abdomen. I couldn’t figure out what it was. It was like I’d eaten a balloon. I had never felt that kind of pressure before. I thought that it might have been the broccoli because I’ve heard that it gives some people gas. I felt so bad that I ended up lying down for several hours and when I woke up I still felt swollen.
Broccoli was served today with the dried fish for lunch. Guess who stupidly ate it? That’s right, me. Now take a guess what happened almost immediately after I ate it? Just like last time, I bloated up to the size of a balloon and felt pain and pressure in my abdomen. It never even crossed my mind not to eat it. Then I laid down for two hours because I felt so bad. I am never going to eat broccoli again. Doctors lie: broccoli is not good for your health!! I explained to the ladies what happened and they also said I should not eat broccoli any more. I should never have tried it to begin with. This is what I get for trying to better myself.
I think the food gods eventually took pity on me because after my two-hour rest, Tums, ginger tea, and 7up I felt much better. As soon as felt better I decided to make the cookies I’d promised to make earlier that day. My stomach was feeling fine. My stomach was never the problem. I didn’t feel nauseous at all. So I whipped up a batch of peanut butter cookies. They smelled so good cooking in the oven. I even put a chocolate chip on top of each one that Kathy had brought from the US. I took a plate into the ladies when they were finished baking. Even Alejandro liked them which surprised me because he’s a picky eater. I refuse to admit how many cookies I ate. After such a rough day (pathetic cough) I felt I deserved them.