Friday, February 4, 2011

The Plight of a Single Woman

Yesterday afternoon I was blessed with the sweet sound of tango music and the serenity of being outside the city.  Not to mention a beautiful 80 degree day and a delicious lunch of Pastel de choclo (like a corn pie).  Man, my life is rough.

My treasure hunt for egg and olive...

It’s a bit sweet so it caramelizes perfectly on top (love the mix of crunchy and chewy!) and it is filled with corn, meat, chicken, half a hard-boiled egg and one olive.  I have no idea why there are so many Chilean dishes with half a hard-boiled egg and one olive inside them – but since I love them both I just go with it.  
This is another traditional Chilean dish and if you want to try it, I did find a recipe in English -

A friend of the family, Mario, took my sister Karen and me to Los Andes to see the tomb of Santa Teresa de los Andes and then we ate at this old Monastery that was built in 1819.  (Notice the inscription above the door). 

I mean...he looks like a scary dude to me

I was terrified of the mannequins when we took a tour after lunch because I swore there would be a real person under one of those cloaks and somebody would grab my hand or blink at me.  Thus, I refused to take a picture with one.  It was dark and eerie there – and yes, I’m still afraid of the dark.  Don’t make fun.
Over lunch we talked about the difference between Chilean meals and eating in the U.S.  As I mentioned in ‘Comfort at “Home,”’ lunch is the biggest meal of the day here.  People come home from work, kids come home from school, and families usually eat together and then return to their daily activities. 
Birthdays and graduations and the like are all celebrated over almuerzo.  And so you might wonder, “What happened to poor old dinner??”  Well, here they don’t really eat dinner.  (Which kills me – I’d prefer 3 big meals a day rather than 1).  J 
Instead they have “once” (which means 11) – usually a light “nibbling” between the hours of 4 and 8 PM.  Although in reality usually we have “once” around 10 PM.  (And why not if you’re not going to start going out to clubs until 2 AM?) 
The origins of “once” are disputed.  But the most popular Chilean lore is based around an alcoholic beverage called aguardiente – because the word has 11 letters.  Some say it was used during a prohibition and some say men used “tomando once” so that women wouldn’t know they were referring to an alcoholic beverage.  I prefer the latter as if “us females” are so stupid we wouldn’t know when “you males” come home inebriated.  Or perhaps we might be “tomando once” ourselves!  Hah!
"Once" with my Mama!
Either way, it has now turned into conversing over tea, coffee, sweets, pan (bread), cheese, ham, and perhaps a Pisco Sour (Chilean drink).  It’s always amusing to me what I learn about peoples’ relationships and families over this “meal.”  Just last night my host mom was accounting how her “boyfriend/not so sure if he’s her boyfriend/now he’s not her boyfriend” stopped calling all of a sudden.  And as soon as she moved on with her life he started calling and calling again.  Hmmmm…sounds like the plight of a single woman if you ask me.
Although I dearly appreciate “once”, and quite enjoy having a feast for lunch, my stomach still longs for a sufficient meal at night.  So the other day I wondered down the road in search for my faavvvorite Chilean food – fried empanadas. J  And as my dad says, “it’s better to be lucky than good” because I had forgotten where my favorite restaurant was but happened to run into it!

You don't know what you're missing...

Now, if you haven’t been to Chile, let me tell you that you haven’t ever had a good empanada.  You can fight and argue all you want but I’m putting my foot down in saying Chile has the BEST empanadas in the world.  So much so that I’m bold enough to look like a crazy foreigner eating by herself (unheard of here). 

Check it out – empanada de queso (cheese), champiñones (mushrooms), y tocino (drumroll pleeease….bacon, my favorite food).  I was in heaven. J
Topped off with another empanada de camaron (shrimp) y queso (cheese).
Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?  Heaven.
My thought for you for today – food truly makes me happy.  Like a happy I can’t describe.  So, I really want to know when I ask you this question – what is your favorite meal you’ve ever had?  And where in the world was it?  And if I’m going there you have to give me the address!!
Peace, love and bacon.


  1. I'm so jealous of all the delicious food you're consuming!! What a wonderful adventure!

  2. Ahhhh... that is a beautiful country. And the people, the people are enchanting. They get near you and the only thing you feel they want to do is to help you, guide you, coach you.
    If they see they cannot communicate well they find a person that will and they brig her over. hahaha
    Lovely, lovely.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...