Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cultural Experiences

Kristen says...

OK so I know that it's not November 7th, for any of you who think I might be homesick and wishing it was November (I'm not, ye
t) or who think I am un poco loco (I'm not, yet) that I am in Honduras I am trying to do some things Honduran-like, and changing how I write the date is one easy way to do that.

The past two days have given us a wealth of cultural experiences that are both distinctly Honduran, and yet somewhat familiar to this United States citizen. Yesterday, Saturday, we were allowed the chance to tag along with the principal of our elementary school and her mother to a large outdoor market, which I think is called Mayoreo. It was really big—with basically ANYTHING you could think of. We walked around looking, touching, and even tasting. It amazed me how many people were there, with so many different (and similar) things.

We have, of course, gone to the large Farmer's Market in Des Moines, but Mayoreo was both similar and different. At both you can find produce, flowers, and food, but vendors in Des Moines tend to have just one or two things in their stalls, and those things are different from almost anyone elses. At Mayoreo, the different stalls had almost identical produce, set up in almost identical ways. They had a price sheet for what you should pay for things…sometimes you were able to follow it, sometimes not. We bought a lot of good-looking things, like zanahorias (carrots), cebollas (onions), un mango, pequeño nuevo patatas (small new potatoes), azúcre (sugar), flour (I don’t know what flour is in Spanish), some sort of red berries (I think they are wild blackberries), fresas (strawberries), huevos (eggs), chorizo (sausage), quesillo (deliciously salty, stringy cheese that is used in pupusas), vanilla, salt, pepper, mantequilla (creamy creamy butter), y tortillas. They berries were longer and a bit thinner than red raspberries, and closer to the color of black raspberries. We were able to taste-test them at the market…SOUR SOUR SOUR! I bought two bags of them to make into a cobbler to take to today's cultural experience.

More pictures from Mayoreo:
(thanks, Cristiana!!)

The picture at the top is actually at the end: we hired a young boy to carry our stuff around in the green wheelbarrow--he even took it all the way to the car!

Now, you don't know our friend who took these pictures, but they were all staged. I was really much happier and culturally sensitive, although I do always feel a little sad when I see live crabs or lobsters for sale, and the brain, liver, heart, and stomachs next to me on the upper RH picture really did ick me out...

The picture to the left is the funnest because we were looking for a rolling pin, and this was the only one we reminded us of something out of the Flinstones, so I decided that's what Wilma would have wanted to do to Fred, if she'd had the chance. :) The funny part is that we didn't end up buying it, so I didn't actually have a rolling pin to make the berry cobbler to take to our Honduran friends' house today...

So later yesterday I did a very US-type thing (for me) by making cobbler (something I did A LOT with my Grandma when I was younger), but there were some major differences. First of all, I didn't have any Crisco shortening, what I've always used (except when I worked at Living History Farms a few summers ago and had to use lard--ICK!), so I decided to try the recipe with the mantequilla (really runny butter) I bought at Mayoreo. It actually turned out pretty well--it had a little less flavor than usual, and was a more dense dough, but definitely not a failure. I also, as mentioned above, didn't have a rolling pin, so I used waxed paper over a big bottle of hand sanitizer we had to roll out the dough. I figured I was being like a pioneer, making do with what I had...and you know what, the cobbler was just fine.

I know that because today we ate it, along with our Honduran friends who graciously invited us to their home for our second cultural experience of the weekend. Really, it was two experiences in one: the real reason we went (besides to hang out) was to watch the final of the World Cup soccer tournament, in which Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0. I can't say I watched the game with too much interest (remember my soccer tirade a few weeks ago?) but I did try. The conversation was more interesting for me, I will say. Anyway, at halftime we had tapedo, which is an AWESOME soup with beef, sausage, coconut milk, cabbage, plantains, yucca, potatoes, and green bananas. You can add rice to it and dip your tortillas (I totally had a brain fart, I was trying to call them tordesillas, as in the treaty between Spain and Portugal, and I had to ask Chris what they were called--I think I'm tired) in it, or just eat a huge amount of it because it's SO GOOD! For desert (after we let the soup settle in the second half and 30-minute overtime) we had the berry cobbler I wasn't my favorite ever, but it was very good.

More pictures from today:

After desert we left and went to yet another mall (I think I've been to or past 4 now) and went to a very Wal Mart type place, so more of a United Statesian experience than a Honduran one to round out the weekend of culture. I tried new foods, I visted new places, I relived old memories and did old things new ways.

It seems weird to me that school is going to start in just over 3 weeks...I'm very interested to see the differences between teaching here and in the States.

An update on the Pip front: he's not here yet, and we've been very bad puppy parents and haven't been stalker-calling Continental every day like we should have. That changes tomorrow! I got to see him on Skype tonight and I REALLY miss him :( Hopefully he will be here before school starts but...who knows. In the meantime, I have Chris to snuggle with :)



  1. It was nice to Skype with you tonight and nice to read the blogs. What you and Chris are writing is very interesting. I look forward to more!

    Love you!


  2. Shortening is manteca here - you can buy it in the same aisle as the cooking oils and margarine. It comes in tubes that sort of look like cookie dough - not very convenient but it works! :)

  3. correction....Kristen, you mis-spelled eggs.....

    Huevos not Juevos (Thanks Rosetta Stone).


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