I thought I wouldn’t have been able to sleep from excitement, coffee, the speaker we just heard in History class, but I guess there’s just something about the hour-long ride to Tepecoyo that makes me drowsy. I always manage to wake up right as we turn onto the dirt road and continue down to Angelica’s house.
Until now I had only seen Tepecoyo during the day, but at sunset it was beautiful. It hasn’t been too cloudy or rainy here the last couple days (which you would think would be a good thing but it really means that all the rain is just going to come in one large pouring) and you could see the light reflected off the trees and creating silhouettes, it was an excellent welcoming present.
First up on the agenda was pupusa making.
Quick Pupusa 101 for those who don’t know what they’re missing out on.
A pupusa is a round disk, probably around 4 inches in diameter, made of corn or rice masa that is stuffed with a variety of things. These things include, but are not limited to: cheese, beans, chicharron (pork), cilantro, jalapeno, lorocco (an edible flower), spinach, and I even tried a ham and pineapple one. The possibilities are pretty much endless, kinda like with pizza. So I guess it may be easier to just think of them like a perfectly circular calzone made of masa.
Sidenote: In an article I had to read for class, pupusas were described as a bacon and cheese pancake. Umm…..what?
So, here’s how the process goes:
- Prep stuffing ingredients. In our case it was lorroco, cheese, and beans. We cut the lorroco by picking 5-6 small buds, bunching them together, and then slicing them as you would a scallion. We then mixed the cut buds in with the cheese, which was kind of like pladough consistency (playdough you could eat that is).
- Get some bowls for the ingredients and separate them. We had one bowl of masa, one of beans, one of the cheese/lorocco mix, one with water to put on your hands so the masa didn’t stick, and a small one with oil to rub on so the outside gets crispy when you cook it.
- Grab a palm’s worth of masa. Form it into a ball.
- Hold that ball in your right hand and press it against the knuckles of your left hand to form a bowl in the masa.
- Fill bowl with beans and cheese/lorocco mix.
- Close dough by pressing masa together once, then turning ball of masa and pressing it one more time.
- Start pinching together the ball. Twist a little as if you were wrapping a small bag as a present.
- Tear of the little extra piece that forms at the top.
- Continue with ball as if you were making a tortilla. This just involves pinching and rotating the ball to form a disk and then flattening the disk out.
- Rub some oil on it.
- Put it on flat top griddle-like thing and cook.
- BOOM! You have yourself the most delicious Salvadoran delicacy ever created.
And let me tell you, after all that hard work of making pupusas, you’ve got a pretty big appetite. So we sat down and enjoyed our mountain of pupusas with some freshly blended salsa (Note: salsa here is more or less the same consistency as bottle hot sauce, it’s not as spicy, but the deliciousness can’t be denied). I had also baked some oatmeal cookies complete with walnuts, dark chocolate chunks, and coconut as a thank you for my praxis family so I whipped those babies out and shared them with everyone, they were a huge hit.
We were in bed by 9:30 and woke up at 7 to a breakfast of refried beans (of amazingness), eggs, and instant coffee. I don’t know what it is about those refried beans, but I’m pretty sure they are the one thing I would want to eat for the rest of my life…I’m salivating a little now just thinking about them.
Ok. Focus. Back to the activities.
It was independence day so after breakfast we walked into town for the parade. A lot of the schools organized marching bands with baton girls, and fancy outfits, and little children dressed up in fancy outfits, and dancing, and lots of make up, and trumpets, and just a whole lot of parade-like things.
But I’m just going to talk about the baton girls outfits for a second.
So there’s a 12 year old girl who gets to be a baton girl for the parade (yippee! oh boy!), and all the girls get matching outfits, they are sparkly, and pink, and glittery…
and also involve very little fabric.
Shoulders were exposed, midriffs were bared, and legs were displayed with skirts that somehow all managed to find the exact spot where your but would not be exposed. Also there were calf-high, heeled, black or white boots involved. And this outfit pretty much applied for all ages.
The skies were still clear, meaning the sun was still blazing hot so we stopped at a street vendor and got choco-watermelon. And that was just about the most refreshing thing that I could have ever hoped for. Frozen slices of watermelon covered in chocolate and coco crispies have a beautiful relationship.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of us watching The Proposal (in Spanish with English subtitles), relaxing, coloring with some kids, relaxing, eating a little, and more relaxing.
You could say I’m pretty relaxed right now.
Sunday we had a small pancake breakfast. They cooked the pancakes on a separate griddle pan on a burner and not on the flat top they grill tortillas on, so that was confusing, mostly because the flat top is prime time for making pancakes at large pancake breakfasts. With it Angelica made a large pot of hot milk (most milk is powdered here) with some sugar in it. It was a new thing for me to try and I liked it, I liked it a lot.
Then, to top it all off, after watching a local soccer game and eating fried yuca (really wish they sold that at soccer games in the states) Angelica made us chicken and vegetable soup. And if I felt nostalgia a few weeks ago it was nothing like the nostalgia I felt at that point.
The soup tasted exactly like my mom’s chicken soup at home. So it was literally a taste of home that was much needed.
Overall, the weekend was as much a reminder of how much I missed home as it was a reminder of how I am supposed to be here.
And if you made it through all that describing and retelling of my weekend then I say kudos to you. I wish there was a way I could give you a pupusa. If you didn’t make it through then you’re probably not reading this now so I can say bad things about you…just kidding.