Monday, July 04, 2011

tasty days

I have recovered my taste.


And I did not even recognize it had gone missing.


On Saturday night, I took an aspirin – as I do every night before wandering off to bed.  The same type of tablets from the same bottle I have been using for several months. 


When I popped the aspirin in my mouth, I tasted vinegar.  Just what I should taste.


It was only then that I realized I have not tasted aspirin in a while.  I take them, but there has been no taste.


That was just the beginning.  All day Sunday, I discovered every food item had a new taste.  A strong taste.  Cheerios.  A banana.  Eggs Benedict.  A slice of provolone (and that was a rather disgusting chemical taste).


Somehow coming to the mountains has restored my ability to taste the varied layers in food.  And I had no idea it was not there at the beach.  I suspect the altitude has opened my sinuses and liberated my tongue.


And, from an experience this morning, I may need that tongue in San Miguel.


On early Sunday, two men I had met through Babs when she visited Melaque in January, Fred and Ron, picked me up to attend church services at the Community Church of San Miguel de Allende.  Like my church in Melaque, it is non-denominational.  Even though, as you can see by their meeting place (pictured above), the accomodations are a bit more slick than our beach palapa.


Before the service started, I wandered around meeting new people.  A woman was very interested that I lived on the coast.  She said they go to La Manzanilla (a village just north of mine), and she finds it delightfully primitive.


The church collects cans of beans to distribute to the poor.  When I mentioned to the woman that I was surprised they were handing out cans of beans, instead of dried beans, she responded: “I know.  Who would eat those?”  She then added: “So, how does your maid cook beans for you?”


I must have adopted the look of an earl who does not have a Rolls Royce being addressed by an earl who does.  She responded, with pity: “Oh.  Are you one of those people who cooks for himself?”


Well, I am certainly not in Melaque – where no maids, as far as I know, cook for their employers.


But there is good cooking here.  And restaurants will always cook up good food for the wallet-weary.


And I can now use my newly-found taste for a good purpose.


 

42 comments:

Francisco said...

 I find your encounter with that woman funny.  I've metf people like her, not exactly down to earth, is she?  With my heritage, she would probably ask me to fetch her a cocktail or something. I've also worked for the super rich, and they always treated me as a person, not an nonentity.
Saludos,
Francisco

Steve Cotton said...

She was very pleasant.  But I get the impression that, for some people, life is a bit different here than at the beach.

Steve Cotton said...

She was very pleasant. But I get the impression that, for some people, life is a bit different here than at the beach.

Felipe Zapata said...

You've encountered quickly two big differences between the coast (well, three) and San Miguel. One is that things taste better. Two is the hoity-toity people (well, some of them). Three would be that you can sleep all night because you're not swimming in sweat.

Can beans. That's a hoot. I don't know a single Mexican who uses can beans.

Steve Cotton said...

I am thoroughly enjoying my visit.  But it is te type of place a blog writer could easily get tripped up.  I now understand why Richard Lander was often in hot water.

Babsofsanmiguel said...

Funny, can't imagine why they would collect canned beans either........the dried ones are so much better.  However, R&F do bring those back from the states - to each his own..........
There are a few "hoity toity" here as Felipe says, but most of us steer clear - and those hoity toity give a lot to charities and help the community.  Their lifestyle is just different............again, to each his own.

ANM said...

If I am not mistaken, a vinegar smell from aspirin means that the aspirin has gone past its shelf life.  You may want to smell your socks while you're at it.  ANM

Dftc2000 said...

Canned beans in Mexico!  Sort of like giving a poor Italian a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli, even this Southern girl grew up on dried pinto beans, not canned.  Often the problem with helping the poor is that we tend to give them what we want to them to have, not always what they need.  Years of mission work have taught me to be very careful what/how I give.  Glad you got your taste back, Steve.  You'll enjoy cooking for yourself so much more now that you can smell the yummy simmering goodness.  Can't imagine not cooking for myself, half of the enjoyment.  debra

N Klein said...

Steve - Please greet Fred and Ron from us when you see them again - always enjoy when they visit the church in Melaque...Also, I lost my sense of taste when I was taking an over-the-counter allergy tab - I think it was Zertec...really kind of scared me...Glad you have your taste back!!!
Have you had the chance to meet Dean U. yet?  He was quite instrumental in the church in Melaque when he had a home in La Manzanilla.  Great guy!

Steve Cotton said...

And that may be the key.  To each his own.

Steve Cotton said...

Are you suggesting I am past my pull date?

Steve Cotton said...

There may be a reason for the canned beans.  I will ask.

Steve Cotton said...

I will do that. I just returned from a pinic with them and Barabara.

I have not met Dean yet. But he ids on the list.

Babsofsanmiguel said...

Dean is in California - you won't get to meet him this trip.  One of my favorite people in all of San Miguel..........

jennifer rose said...

More Mexicans consume canned beans in Mexico than any other
nationality. And they also consume dehydrated instant beans, too. Along with
Herdez canned salsa casera. Deal with it. If you don’t have gas and a pressure
cooker, and if you’re hungry, you’re going to find those canned beans mighty
tasty and filling. La Sierra canned beans are great!


 


There are more important things to get your knickers in a
twist over than the propriety of giving canned beans to the poor. Don’t pay any
heed to those commentators who hold otherwise.


 


The longer you stay in central Mexico, the quicker you’ll
find yourself coming to your senses. You’ve been just lost at the beach too
doggone long. Oh, and having the help cook is not necessarily a sign of wealth
or status; it happens in plenty of middle-class Mexican homes. 

Steve Cotton said...

Then, I will need to return.

Steve Cotton said...

I assure you, my knickers have remained exactly as they should on this trip. No twists whatsoever. But I was curious about the canned beans. You may have a point.

As for the cooking maid -- that is simply a new concept for me. If I asked mine to cook, she would probably think I had lost my marbles.

Laurie Matherne said...

Mountains are better! I love my semi tropical life at 1000 meters. I could use another 1000 meters but who's complaining? Beans? In a can? Honduras are so poor that they don't know what to do with them. I am serious. I have tried to give a few away. And maids in Honduras are expected to cook for the evening meal, often at least beans and rice, or chicken. 

John Calypso said...

Those aspirins are over the hill - And you have good taste as far as I can tell.

Steve Cotton said...

Over the hill?  But so am I.

Undoubtedly too much exposure to tropical humidity.  For both.

Steve Cotton said...

There is joy in the mountains.  But no ocean.

Mcotton said...

I enjoyed all of the comments today, especially the one from ANM and your response.

All joking aside. Throw out those aspirins and buy fresh ones.  When you take one, drink plenty of liquid with it, otherwise it is hard on the stomach.

Steve Cotton said...

Yes, mother.

I now understand why aspirin are sold in blister packs in Mexico, rather than in bottles.

Kim G said...

Recovering your sense of taste?  That you had lost it unknowingly is kind of worrisome, no? 

Maybe you need to stay in the cool mountain air. I'm with Felipe. The beach is lovely in the winter, but I'd be out of there by Semana Santa.

Saludos,

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where our own beach has finally grown tolerable now that the ice is long gone.

Don Cuevas said...

Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Ravioli. Yum! You can give me yours. I used to have it for breakfast when my shift at the bakery was over for the night. (Now, I do appreciate higher quality ravioli.)

Saludos, Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

Who knows how these things happen.  But it is good to have it back.  Maybe there is just more taste here in the mountains.

Don Cuevas said...

So, Felipe: who buys all those canned beans I see stacked upon display in supermercados such as Bodega Aurrerá?

Separately: the family checking out in front of us bought numerous small servings of Tang (Imitation fruit juice powder.), and mucha comida chatarra.
 Just interesting to ponder.

Saludos, Don Cuevas

Don Cuevas said...

Tell it like it is, Jennifer!

Saludos, Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

I have wondered the same thing.  I see the stacks of cans, but I can never remember seeing a customer buy them.  But they must.

Steve Cotton said...

Oh, she will.  She will.

Felipe Zapata said...

You have a bean point, Señor Cuevas, but I personally have never seen anybody open a can of beans here. Just cook them from scratch.

Felipe Zapata said...

There is joy in the mountains. But no ocean. No sand in everything. No dead electronic connections. No crocodiles. No incessant sweat. No sleepless nights. Etc., etc., etc.

Felipe Zapata said...

No loss of taste, no hurricanes . . . 

jennifer rose said...

And don't forget the popularity of  Nescafe and Taster's Choice in coffee-producing country. 

Expecting Mexicans to eat locally and in the manner of times past is like expecting all of us to have large families, break into dance and song at the drop of a hat, and to constantly practice the national pastime of smiling. 

Dftc2000 said...

Well, live and learn (to keep my mouth shut until I know the truth of the matter). But, please don't tell me the Japanese eat La Choy canned Chop Suey.  I hope they give out can openers with all those canned beans, maybe I'll bring some of those little military issue can openers next time I visit Mexico.  Will have to try La Sierra brand beans, but canned salsa.  I do like Rotel canned tomatoes.  Actually, I remember that the dehydrated beans started tasting good about the fifth day of back packing.        

Steve Cotton said...

Even when I am cooking soups that require beans as an infrequent, I will always cook them up from dried beans. The soup simply seems to be better.

Dftc2000 said...

As they say, there is no accounting for taste.  Will load up on Chef Boy-Ar-Dee to barter with on my next trip down or maybe Sam's Club sells it in Mexico.    

Steve Cotton said...

Of course. But still no ocean. That one factor is a big influence in my life. Not the deal breaker or maker. But it is there.

Steve Cotton said...

On that last point, we have had more wind here in San Miguel than I usually see at the beach.

Steve Cotton said...

Of course, you must concede that using Jennifer Rose as the model of things Mexican may skew the national character just a bit. It would be like setting up PJ O'Rourke as the typical American.

Steve Cotton said...

Now, if you were to bring down a can of Dennison chili, you could probably sell it to an expatriate for about six dollars or so -- at least that is the going price in the specialty import stores down here. At least that is what they charge. It is funny how the mundane can become precious.

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer does have a point, though. Mexican housewives are starting to do what any other middle class country has done -- look for conveniences in saving time from traditional chores.