Nacatamales, part 2 in Granada
Trip Start Feb 07, 2012
19Trip End Apr 24, 2012
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Nacatamales are delicious cornflour, masa harina, meals wrapped up in banana leafs. You can find them all over Nicaragua, steaming in a big huge pot at any park or market.
When we got to Casa del Agua, I shared with Gerry my nacatamale quest. He was eager to help fulfill my desire. The next day, he told me that Isabel, the abuela (grandmother) of a woman who worked for Gerry would love to make nacatamales with me. I would later learn from her, that she makes nacatamales every Saturday for her family.....I guess I found the right teacher
Imagine a beautiful, kind, strong Nicaraguan grandma, and you are seeing Isabel. (Dad, Aunt MaryAnn and Uncle Jimmy, let Aunt Isabel know I felt like I met her kindred spirit in Nicaragua!) A kind face with a no-nonesense look about her when she was meandering the crowded alleys of the market. She spoke zero English and had a high expectation that I would understand her Spanish, regardless of how fast she spoke. she would repeat herself, but only at the same speed. :) I had been through the local market twice before I went with her, but going with her was like being let into the secret chambers of the chaotic labyrinth.
Back in the kitchen, I watched in awe as this 70plus year old woman, I never did ask her age, worked with corm meal with 3 sticks of butter and then worked in water and milk. She did this all with her hands for over 20 minutes.....we were making a batch big enough for my family, 2 German couples, Gerry, and Isabel's family. While she worked her magic with the dough, I humbly chopped carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and peppers..... When it came to wrapping them up, I watched carefully, as I didn't want to disappoint beautiful Isabel if she let me try. She did let me have a go at it, and I pretty much bombed the test. She spoke some "firm" grandmotherly Spanish at me, as she took the nacatamale from my hands and re-rolled it
As for the nacatamales, they were delicious. When I get home, I'll make some for you.
Paul also made a beautiful new friendship with Narlan, the man who gave him a lift from the supermercado. He invited us to his home. Paul went twice. The boys and I went once. We met his wife, his mother, his son, and his niece. They all live together. We went to the park that borders Lake Nicaragua together. We gathered mangoes, as they fell from the trees there as well. The boys played with their children on a true Nicaraguan playground. It took ALL of my willpower to not hover over them as they played on the teeter-totter, which was definitely not built to American safety codes, rusty seats, handles, and it teetered to about a 75 degree angles...not kidding
Narlan and Michele send their son to a private school and have a real sense of pride for this huge accomplishment. Michele works with people with special needs in Granda (this touched Paul's and my hearts) she told me a lot about how little opportunity there is for anyone with special needs in Granada and mostly folks simply spend their time at home, with their families.
Narlan stopped by again the next day to say good-bye to us. His wife, Michele, is on FACEBOOK! and, we hoped to stay friends with them forever...