Friday, July 8, 2016

Cooking with fire

Going to Guatemala was about helping Grace make a connection to her birth country. We all agreed that a cooking class to learn how to make some traditional Guatemalan food would be a worthwhile experience for all of us.  After some research, we decided on La Tortilla Cooking School in the heart of Antigua.

Grace was so excited that evening that she took the lead finding 25A on 3 Calle Poniente.  She found #25 and then as we were looking around and almost ready to give up a store owner from a neighboring location helped us and showed us where the school was located.  Most buildings and storefronts are very similar from the street. But once you enter, garden courtyards and peaceful interiors are revealed.

Inside La Tortilla we met Christina, the Guatemalan cook, her daughter Carmen, Delfina (the translator from Argentina) and a few other La Tortilla staff who were there to help.  Four cutting boards and colored aprons indicated that this was going to be a private class just for us!

Together, we learned to cook pepian (a stew with vegetables and chicken), Guatemalan fried rice, tortillas, a roasted beet salad, and a dessert with mashed fried plantains filled with a chocolate/bean paste.  At first it seemed like cooking for 2+ hours was going to be LONG but the time (and the wine) flew as we talked and laughed together.

We were all surprised as Grace was the first to volunteer to cook with Christina.  They had an instant bond! She went around to Christina's side of the cooktop and the rest of us ended up being the sous chefs, cutting and chopping the ingredients.

Grace did a great job roasting the chiles and vegetables, and using the blender to make the pepian sauce that added all the flavor and color to the stew.  Christina told us that you can use pork, steak, or chicken for this meal and that on special occasions they will use all three!

We shared the meal together in a candlelit courtyard and then Christina showed Grace how she does her weaving.  She told us that she is a single mom and in between cooking classes she works on weaving to make clothing to sell.  We were honored that Christina invited us to her house and were disappointed that the rest of our week was already scheduled so we couldn't go.


Phyllis said...

What an amazing adventure! Aunt Phyl would have loved to be there with you to watch you cook that wonderful meal. It must have tasted delicioso! Maybe, when you come to FL, you can show us how to make pepian.

Nana said...

Fun evening and Grace loved being the Chef!Food was great and the dessert easy to try at home.