Sunday, August 1, 2010

Almuerzo in Aguas Escondidas

Angie Wolle, PeaceHealth's Director of Organization Development, has been visiting me this weekend, in preparation for the PeaceHealth leadership group which will be coming to El Salvador in November for a week of service and experience.

On Friday we visited San Juan Opico, where the service part of the November mission will take place, and were invited to lunch at the rancho of Doña Carmen Aviles in Aguas Escondidas, one of the villages of Opico. Carmen cooked for our February mission group, so I knew the food would be wonderful, but it was beyond wonderful. She presented us with plates of chicken in her own special sauce, rice and steamed vegetables; there was a huge platter of salad, a pot of beans, a plate of cheese, tortillas; and we had homemade horchata (a delicious drink of moro seeds, rice, cinnamon and vanilla). Along with Dina Duvon, Reyna Peña, and Gumersindo and Ana Hernandez - our key volunteers in the February and May missions - we feasted like queens until we could barely waddle, but we weren't done. The new corn, elote, is harvested in July and August, and there are a number of special dishes that are made with elote: for dessert Carmen served us atole, a hot, sweet new corn porridge flavored with cinnamon and other spices, and gave us each an ear of elote to eat. She also had made a quesadilla, which here in El Salvador is a flat cake made with cheese and milk, and had fruit ready, but we had gone beyond capacity, and ended up taking the quesadilla home for breakfast. Each dish was delicious, perfectly cooked, beautifully presented, and Carmen (and her daughters and friends) cooked it all with no electricity, as a tree had knocked out the power line, using her gas stove and her huge adobe horno, or oven.

For Angie (she's the blond in the photo), this was a great introduction to the joy and generosity of Salvadorans. Our November group will be going to Doña Carmen's house for lunch on their first day in El Salvador, to experience a little bit of life in the campo - and to eat some of the best cooking in El Salvador.

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