Tonight we made chilaquiles verdes. They are made by tearing a tortilla into approximate triangles and frying the pieces until they are crisp, drying the oil from them and then dipping them into this heavenly salsa made of tomatillos, chiles, chicken stock, and elpazote, and herb. Although I burned myself (of course) when the lid flew off the liquadora and sprayed me with boiling tomatillo and chile juice, the scalding was quite worth the delicious result. Typically, this dish is topped with onions (cebollas) and queso fresco. Sometimes they are served for brunch with eggs. Have I mentioned that this dish is delicious?
Vickie, our teacher, takes a spoon and drips a bit of the salsa on her thumb and each of ours to test the spiciness and salinity. As I put out my palm and then wrist, she explained that it tastes better on the thumb. (It also probably burns less than on the sensitive skin of the wrist). As I sampled the mix, I suggested that I didn’t even need the chips. I could just have mine in a coffee cup. I was mostly serious.
The most delicious part of cooking class is the time we have in between the salsa being done and the frying of the tortillas, for example. During this time, we sit around the table telling stories about our lives, practicing the language. Vickie is a widow, but she has a boyfriend named Manuel. She showed me a picture of him tonight. When I showed her M’s photo she said she had seen it on my phone, but she thought he was a screensaver, some celebrity or something. She said, “El es muy guapo” (He is very handsome.)
She also told us a story about a cousin she had with the unique name “Caro.” Caro in Spanish means expensive. I couldn’t resist and immediately asked, “?Y el tiene un hermano que se llama Barato?” (And he has a bother named Cheap?) My table mates laughed at my little chiste (joke). When people ask me why I am learning Spanish, I often say I want to make people laugh in another language. Little by little, I can make others laugh.