Friday, February 15, 2008

Guata and Sancocho

"I'll tell you what it is AFTER you try it." That is not a the answer you're wanting to hear when you ask what something is that you're about to eat.
Gloria, one of the wonderful cooks at El Sendero decided to give Candace and I a cultural experience eating Guata and Sancocho de Pescado. When we walked to her families' house we assumed the the food was the only cultural we would experience, but oh how wrong we were. As we walked up to the row of houses, we were introduced to her mom and her brother. Then we were introduced to her sister-in-law, nieces, cousins and the list continued through 6 sisters and 7 brothers and ALL of their children and children's children. Almost all of them live near each other in a 1/2 mile vicinity.
After eating a good portion of Sancocho de Pescado (which is yucca, plantain, and fish - and I LOVED it!), we were introduced to Guata. About 1/2 way through the plate, Gloria asked us if we knew what we were eating. When the "meat" that you are eating has to be chewed more than 5 times in order to be swallowed, it's a good guess that's its some sort of intestine. Gloria was thrilled that we figured out that we were chewing cow intestine and papas covered in a peanut sauce. And to be honest, it wasn't that bad... the texture probably got me more than anything.
After eating, Gloria started telling us her story. I'll save the details for another day, but let's just say that her 6 sister and 7 brother family was not happy when she became a Christian. Imagine a culture where family means everything and then imagine doing something that they, not only disagree with but pretty much disown you over. That is what Gloria, a single mother did some 11 years ago. I am absolutely blown away by the strength and faith that this woman has. I pray that one day you will be able to hear her story from her own mouth, but for now, take my word for it; she is one feisty, strong, faithful, amazing woman of God. And I count myself blessed to have shared my first plate of Guata and Sancocho with her.

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