The Food: Before moving to Nicaragua, I assumed the food would be similar to Mexican food: spicy, vibrant, diverse, and drenched in salsa. Nope. Before I complain about the vast difference in cuisine, I’ll be straight up- There’s so much less variety in foods because Nicaragua is the poorest Latin American country. That being said, people are grateful just to have full bellies.
Now, I appreciate Mexican food more than ever. That’s why when I came home from visiting Boston in April, I filled my suitcase with snazzy Mexican hot sauces like Cholula and Tapatio (wrapped rightly in my “new” clothes from Goodwill), corn tortillas (they just don’t taste the same here), and raw pinto beans. Beans, of all things, you ask? Yes, beans. Red and black beans just aren’t the same as brown pinto beans, which are different from the white, Nicaraguan pinto beans.
I also miss my mom’s fresh, green salsa verde. They sell salsa verde in the can here, but it’s not the same. Growing up, I hated when my mom would ask me to peel those green tomatillos because of how sticky they would make my hands. While I scrubbed them in the sink, she would boil the tomatillos and mix them in a blender with cilantro, lime, and salt. Before we even poured the salsa out of the blender, we would dip Santitas tortilla chips in for various “taste tests”, our hands cupped underneath our chins, savoring the smell and taste of cilantro. Now, I would give anything to peel those sticky, green tomatillos with her.
When has a particular dish made you think of when you were a kid?