Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cooking Lessons with Maria

We are looking to volunteer at the local primary school as English teachers.  The students get 90 minutes of English class each day, and the school told us we could help in that classroom, specifically with pronunciation.  We are excited at the prospect, but need to talk with the director (principal) to finalize the details.  We have gone 2 days and the director wasn't available either day.  But, in the meantime, we made friends with some Tico mamas waiting to pick up their kids.  One mom gave T (well me, actually) the equivalent of an Otter Pop which thrilled me!  I was using a bit of Spanish and a bit of charades to keep the conversation moving with these ladies.  About 20 minutes into our conversation I asked them for any meal ideas or cooking tips.  Maria (pictured below) whipped out a laminated card, eager to show me her identification as a certified chef in Costa Rica.  You better believe I was impressed.  After telling her my pollo came out negro (chicken was black/burnt) she offered to help me!  The next thing I knew, she was shopping with us at the market (valuable as a both a Spanish and a cooking lesson!) and then following us home.  Scott wants to be sure all you readers know that we were very careful in deciding to invite her over.  We had visited with her for a long while at the school and we had a good feeling about her- we felt this Tico mama was safe to have in our home.  

Anyway, here she was instructing us on all the various meats...
In exchange for the cooking lesson, she wants us to work on English with her son, Wilber.  Maria really wants him to be good at English so that he can have a good life.  She says some days at their home they eat well, other times they eat only rice and beans for every meal.  If Wilber can get good at English he will have a brighter future!

We did mixed veggies.  Chop them all, boil them separately  then season and saute them together.  She uses chicken consume on everything!

The kitchen was SOOO hot with all the burners going mid-day!  

We bought basically half a chicken, and with the worst knife in the world, Maria cut that thing apart and into as flat a piece of bone-in chicken you can imagine.  And she did it fast too!

Here we are, Pollo con vegetales, con frijoles!  
Pretty basic, but we are going on to a more advanced meal next week at her place!  She is so sweet to have us over and we are excited to learn more!


Kimberly Moore said...

I loved this post! I hope it works out for you at the school! That would be awesome. Maria looks like a gem!

Heather said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' about. Learnin' how to cook like a Tico mama. Just think what she could do with a sharp knife. Good luck with teaching English!