Dunlaps in San Salvador

Online journal of the Dunlaps' adventures in San Salvador.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Buying Eggs

I am forever comparing my "new" life to my old one. I marvel at how I have adapted, and then I laugh about the habits that are so deeply ingrained that I cannot change them. Take eggs, for example. Someone warned me before I moved to Central America, "Watch out - they don’t refrigerate their eggs." And it is true. Eggs are simply on the shelves in the grocery stores. We bought 60 eggs for the Grits Party last Sunday. (And by the way, we did not buy five dozen. Eggs don’t come in multiples of twelve, but instead multiples of fifteen. We bought two packages of 30 eggs each.)

I’m not sure what I was thinking. It turned out I already had enough eggs at home and I really didn’t need any of them - let alone 60. Here’s something else I love. Usually if you buy a carton of 30 eggs, you get something free. I’m sure I’ve written about this before. I’m fascinated with whatever "freebie" is attached, because it never seems logical to me.

My favorite free egg gift was a washcloth. It had Winnie the Pooh on it and we ended up tucking it in a baby present. I avoid the eggs that have a bottle of kolachampan taped to the side. I apologize to Salvadorans all over the world, but I just don’t like kolachampan. It’s a type of drink, and it is the same color and consistency as orange soda. But there is no way to prepare yourself for the taste. All the guidebooks say, "It’s sweet." My take is that it tastes like liquid bubble gum. At the very least, it should be pink. Then you wouldn’t be so surprised the first time you drink it. Maybe.

I went through a free spaghetti with eggs stage, and then a free consumé stage. One day I looked in my pantry and realized I owned 35 packets of consumé. While I liked getting it for free, I never had a plan to use it. That’s when Will suggested we start our own black market, and maybe we could trade consumé for something we really needed. On the days that I just can’t face the choice of another free thing that I won’t use, I seek out the containers of eggs with nothing attached. Then I don’t feel so guilty.

So the 60 eggs sat on my counter for a week. We didn’t have room for them in the refrigerator, and I was really trying to just "go local." By Saturday, I caved. I took 30 eggs to the neighbors. No one really locks their front doors around here. So I literally snuck into the kitchen, begged the dog to stop barking, left the eggs and went home. And then I finally refrigerated the other 30. I know they don’t have to be kept cold. I’m not even sure why eggs are cold in the states. But they bother me sitting on the counter. It’s like hanging a picture upside down. It just seems so wrong.

For those of you who wondered, we fed 75 people at the Grits Party. I didn’t write about it sooner because we also had a giant grits disaster. It turned out that you couldn’t cook grits in Salvadoran enamel pots. The bottom of the pot is too thin. That's the pot that is sitting in the sink in the photo, and that's Paige with me. She kept me calm while the grits were burning. We had to throw away 10 pounds of scorched grits before we finally got it right. (That’s 10 pounds of dry grits - add the water needed and it was probably closer to 20 pounds - James said it was like trying to carry a dead body in those trash bags.) But the breakfast casseroles were delicious, and the bisquick biscuits were a hit. I even tried a "tater tot" casserole. Lord knows it wasn’t healthy, but it sure did taste good.

We’re back in school now and almost back on a schedule. We have this Tuesday as a national holiday. It is the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Salvadoran Peace Treaty. I think that is cause enough to celebrate. We’re off on another adventure - something about a cabin on a volcano. I’ll let you know how it turns out.


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