We have learned a whole new set of culinary skills while living in Nicaragua. From tortilla making to cheese making, to learning several ways to prepare a plantain, we are better cooks than we were when we came. We always tell Nicaraguans that we did not enjoy eating meat until we came here, the way that it is prepared and cooked, mostly in citric juices, with a lot of garlic, is absolutely scrumptious.
When getting together with friends here, we generally offer to bring the dessert. While there are exceptions, most of our Nicaraguan friends do not know how to turn on or use their ovens. They use the stovetop all day long, cooking their beans or preparing gallo pinto, however their ovens are usually utilized for storage. Our friends have fallen in love with all things sweet – brownies, chocolate chip cookies, almond tart and cheesecake.
When we told our friend Maria that we were planning to relocate back to Minnesota, she told us that she wanted to learn how to make brownies before we left. This goal turned into a full day of baking. I (Cassie) brought the ingredients, recipes cards written out in Spanish and then directed the ladies to take charge of their recipe. They learned how to mix dries and wets separately, how to use a hand-mixer and how to grease a pan. At the end of the day, after my hand was swollen and red from being stung by a wasp, we had three delicious desserts to enjoy. Maria made chocolate chip cookies, Gretel made everything cookies and Keyling made brownies.