Cooking and eating through a new culture

Sunday Pupusas

Okay. It’s been awhile. For that I apologize. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about. On the contrary…maybe too much…I just haven’t been able to launch myself into one specific topic. I find it funny, the moment you step back, don’t make yourself available for whatever reason, people are asking, “Is everything alright?”, which translates into “tell me about your gory drama” tinged with a touch of I-knew-you-would circle-the-drain-eventually. So let me just say, sorry to disappoint: things are still pretty damn awesome.

So it’s October, the wettest month in the Central Valley. Prior to my move down here, I had invested heavily in rubber, specifically great knee-high solid rubber boots. I highly recommend them. That, and a good rain coat. I have several of each, and even though the Ticas will still plow through the rain on insane high heels or flip-flops, I have gotten some nice compliments and jealous looks. I am not a fan of the ubiquitous skinny jean trend but they do look good with the boots, furthering my Tica transformation.  And one of the best places to style it up and brave the rain, is the Sunday market. October brings piles of papayas, towers of tomatoes, oversized onions, only to name a few. I bought two basketball sized heads of broccoli for less than an US dollar. Fortune may have smiled on us recently, but I am still a frugal mofo.

Having an extra pocket full of colons has made it easy to slip into what has been quickly becoming a Sunday morning tradition for us: pupusas for breakfast.

Sheer Sunday morning awesomeness

The pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish that has been modified and adapted into many delicious varieties. Usually you will see it as a thick handmade fried corn tortilla stuffed with cheese, refried beans and ground pork topped with some shredded cabbage slaw (also called a curtido) and chopped tomatoes. Now I could regurgitate the whole Wikipedia definition of these delectable noshes because like most traditional foods, there is a rich history and many people are quite particular about how a real pupusa should be made. I have had my fair share, so I am going to tell you that, Comidas J en J, the little eatery along the bullring at the Zapote Sunday market is my go-to favorite.

Rafa tucking in to a perfect pupusa

These pupusas are not as thick as the traditional recipe and are cut open at one end and filled with chopped chicharrón and the curtido. Rafa laments that there isn’t enough beans in the mix but we both agree they add some very tasty chicharrón which puts it well past the more common ground pork pupusa for us. We are regulars now. Orders are not even taken. We just saddle up to the little counter to escape the rain and within minutes there are fresh papusas in front of us, with extra chicharrón too. I am not normally a breakfast person, but I find a pupusa is a perfect start to a Sunday adventure. Not to mention it soaks up the mimosas we have later, beautifully.


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