Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 25, 2009 – Christmas on the Farm (neighbor’s)

December 25th ,2009 – Christmas on the Farm (neighbor’s)
The sky full of promise of heavy rain never came through on Christmas Day. Partially sunny nevertheless hot and muggy, the main dinner of the year, like all the previous years, reunited family members and some stray friends. As such, I showed up at first one bringing a 2-liter Coke. I parked in front of the house where three other cars had parked. I felt the familiar smell of grilled meat. A few steps downhill, in a fiberglass covered shack, a dinner was being conducted. Rather a quiet and orderly meeting, with modest bbq grill and people sitting around the table. Salad known in restaurants are “complete”, with cooked potatoes, chayotte, carrots, hearts of palm, onions, cucumber, tomato, onion, and olives drizzed with oil and vinegar. A salsa made of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, potato puree stuffed with shredded chicken in tomato sauce, boiled madioc roots, plain rice, roasted pork, and grilled beef and stuffed sausage made up the feast. As dessert, the sweetest non-acidic homegrown pineapple, homemade ice cream made of packaged powder in strawberry and peach artificially flavored, and store bought chocolate cake. The big secret of eating well, if one can do so in big feasts, is to avoid greasy or starchy foods. I started out with grilled meat and salsa. I followed with vegetable salad and pork. A tiny bit of the rest. I still had room for more pork and beef. I left the table feeling well fed, yet light. Untill...a big piece of chocolate cake was given to me. I left bringing home a bag full of ice cream and grilled meat. But nothing can be compared to what I would hit on my way home.
Dona Rosa lives by the road to my house. I stopped to wish them a Merry Christmas. A big bamboo tent was built to shade from the sun. About thirty merry people were celebrating with beer, bingo, and of course, with great food. Dona Rosa rushed to welcome me wearing a red tank top contrasting her stark black colored hair (and without a cap). Her son-in-law and a grandson brought me a cold beer, while she pushed me into the house to eat. “Come, the pork is still hot. It’s in the oven”. Inside the brick mud oven, fired by possibly the wood I gave her, she pulled a tray with beautifully roasted baby pork ribs. I was able to eat just a little piece, regretting I had had a big piece of cake a few minutes before. A chicken mayo salad mixed with cooked vegetables, farofa (mandioc flour mixed with minced meat, sausages, and seasonings) and boiled mandioc to eat along. Before I left, she packed more pork and beef for my father.
I stumbled back home looking forward for my daily siesta. All day with rich food like today’s, a nap is mandatory. But it’s the only day a siesta cannot be taken. It’s a special day.

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