Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 88: Desayuno Americano

Mission American Breakfast
I remember when I first arrived in Argentina. January 3, 2010. I had no clue what waited for me. I have always enjoyed imagining things and usually can draw a moment in time. Even if it is a made up painting of black scribbles and circles... I can see something. But before Bariloche, I saw nothing.

Three months later, every single line has been filled in with reds, blues, pinks, yellows, oranges, purples and greens. Last night, I continued coloring in my painting with food in every shade variation in a presentation of traditional Desayuno Americano.

The American Breakfast. In the states, eating breakfast is an emphasis. In Argentina, most people only believe in Mate. Or pan con mas pan. Y mas pan. With a little bit of jam. Waffles, pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, gravy, biscuits... none of that exists here.

Until today.

I cooked for five people. I cooked for my family. It was the first time I had ever cooked for more than 2 people (me and someone else). The menu-- pancakes with honey and jam, scrambled eggs with veggie stir fry (zuchinni, mushrooms, and red and green bell peppers), and fried sausage. ALL covered in tabasco.
Objective one-- the grocery shopping.
I had my list of ingredients. Walking through aisle five, I began chuckling and talking to myself. The top item on my list: Bisquick. I do not know why I thought Argentina would have Bisquick. Cause I know how to make pancakes from scratch...

I feel I must mention again my inability to cook. I never helped cooking growing up because I never wanted to help cooking growing up. But I had told my house mom that we were having American breakfast... and that meant with or without the help of Bisquick.

I decided that flour, eggs, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil and milk sounded like a good Argentinean version of Biskquick. I called my mother when I returned home to make sure I was cooking the sausage right for the maximun amount of bottom woods, country grease as possible. (I mean it when I say I haven´t cooked much before). I had to get the food right. And being the southern girl that I am, that meant making it taste like home home. Georgia.
Objective two-- the cooking part.
With my hair pushed back in a black bow, I cut, fried, stirred, sifted, cracked, whipped, flipped, poured and watched my food expand into a meal of colors, flavors and aromas. I experienced the kind of happiness that my mother always talks about during those 40 minutes in the smoke filled kitchen. I was cooking for others and I liked the feeling of cooking for others when I knew they were going to enjoy it.
Objective three-- praying it tastes like food.
I could read my family´s uneasy eyes when they witnessed the traditional desayuno Americano sitting on the dinning room table. For dinner. My host mom told me to go first and she would follow. I spread raspberry jam over two fluffy pancakes and topped them with honey (syrup does not exist here). I covered my scrambled eggs in veggie stir fry and tabasco sause. I did not have to demonstrate how to eat the sausage...

Twenty minutes later, all the bowls and plates sat empty. Every crumb devoured. Every morsel enjoyed to its finest. My host mom is now addicted to pancakes and sausage. My host dad even went back for seconds on the veggies (and he does not like veggies). Molly and I gave them the tabasco as a gift. Because hot sauces in Argentina are impossible to find.
Objective four-- lista.
Last night, I finished my painting of Bariloche with tabasco sause and the image of my host family fanning their burning tongues. I am now content with coming back home. Estoy lista. Being able to share a little bit more of my life with them completes the grand adventures of Meg in Bariloche.

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