ANYHOW we're going to talk about FOOD today! One of my more favorite topics, right? I'm really coming to LOVE the food here in Ecuador and for many reasons. Let's begin with...
Now I knew I would love the fruit here, and that it was the capital of the fruit world in many ways, but I didn't exactly understand how much I would! First of all, there are all sorts of cool things I've never seen before that I just love. For instance, tamarindos (tamarinds?), which kind look like big brown peas - you crack them open and there's a great citrus-y fruity part inside that you suck off the seed. Also, there are so many types of bananas here I still can't get them all straight! My FAVORITE, so far, has been Verde (Green, literally. The ripe version is called Maduro, or mature.). Well, Verde itself is no good - it's a really big banana, but it's starchy, rather than sweet. BUT what you can do is cut it up, cook it in oil, smash it, cook it in oil AGAIN and it makes the best, thickest, most delicious chips I've ever had.
I'm already missing it. Hey, keep a tally of things like this that exist in the states so I can know what I can make when I get back.
Everybody says the food in the coast is the best, and that seems to be true! All of my favorite dishes I've eaten at members' houses included a coastal element. One of which includes fish. It turns out I like fish eyes! They're kindy chewy and for some reason taste kind like an egg. Really, it's not gross at all.
And the King of Kings is encebollada, a coastal fish soup, essentially. I've only had it once, and I've heard that it's only better in the coast. Soup is a big part of every meal, and this is the best kind. They also like to put banana chips, popcorn, all sorts of things in their soup to add a crunch to it, too.
The Samoan side of me is so happy.
There are so many bakeries here it's not even funny. It's the way that Ecuadorians do it, really, they just set up shop outside their house, and so there are many who specialize in bread. It was absolutely horrible yesterday as we were fasting (fast Sunday!) walking past all the open bakeries with the sweet smells wafting out.
One thing they have here that's seasonal is called "guaguas de pan." "Guagua" (wahwah) is the word in the indigenous language here for "baby." So, bread babies. They're shaped like little wrapped-up babies with frosting on top with a face and everything, and jam or caramel or the like inside. So good!! I'm planning to get a bunch today before they're gone.
Hey everybody, keep sending me things you want to hear about Ecuador! I'll have to respond to them slowly, I only have so much time to e-mail, after all. But don't you agree this was an important topic to start off with?
The Lord Works In Many Ways
I was reading Hna. Wahlstrom's letter (I read all of yours, by the way, Nick, Sidney, Richard, Zach, and the rest! They really help me!) and she mentioned how she was reading in the chapters where the Anti-Nephi-Lehies believed so strongly they willingly gave up their lives and thus many Lamanites were converted. And how the scriptures say, essentially, "and thus we see that the Lord worketh in many diverse ways for the salvation of his people."
It's something I've been thinking about. There are so many ways that we can help, and we never know what action of ours can change the life of another. We simply can't have fear to share the Gospel (Something I'm still learning! I don't like to contact much.). For instance, just this morning we were on the trolley and a guy got on - he looked right at me and I quickly looked away. It was uncomfortable. And over the next five minutes as people got on and off he got closer and closer to us until he was right there - and my companion could tell he was looking at us, and so made contact. And it turns out he'd heard of the church before, in Madrid (he was white, which is becoming really peculiar to me) and even willingly gave us his business card so we could have some missionaries contact him! (He lives outside our sector, in Quito proper.) Wow! And here I was, afraid. I shouldn't have been!
I'm trying to learn to walk by faith. I know the Lord has prepared a way for each and every one of us. We just need to rely on Him, solely on Him, praying and searching the scriptures. I'll figure this out. I will, because the Lord has given me all I need and knows how much I can handle!
Ciao! (Is that how it's spelled?) Les amo!