Thursday, August 5, 2010

You Don't Need to Leave Home to Travel to Far Away Places

No matter where I am in the world, I love attending Relief Society for the sisterhood and what I learn and feel. This past month has been especially enlightening, informative, and just plain fun. One night, at a despedida for two families moving back to the USA, one of the members of the La Molina Ward asked me to teach her how to make brownies. Within a month the Relief Society presidency had called me to ask me to teach the sisters how to make brownies. She also invited me to attend Relief Society the night the Bolivian sisters were talking about culture, foods, and dress of Bolivia. I had missed the Colombianas which I heard was an event. Last night the sisters from Guatemala--Guatemaltecas--presented the program of foods, costumes, and traditions. Our Area DTA (director of temporal affairs) who is from Guatemala showed a 20-minute film of the regions, ethnicities, languages, costumes, dances, and tourist attractions. His wife Rosie is a member of the Relief Society presidency. She is the one who asked me to teach making brownies.

The colorful facade of this cathedral reallly enchanted me. I am surprised the camera caught it because the scenes of the video changed rapidly.

This picture set the stage for a high adventure, 20-minute video of all things Guatemala.

The colors in this picture repeat the colors of the cathedral which speak of infinite sunshine. There are three very active volcanoes near Guatemala City which create really fertile land and a strong ecosystem.

Rosie Ramos and Karin Utria and her daughter presented the program.

The frijole pizza is in the foreground. The moist and flavorful tamale is at the back. I liked this tamale ever so much better than the Peruvian tamale because the corn is sweeter, more moist, and smoother and the spices are stronger. A platano (banana like fruit) was fried in a lightly oiled pan and wrapped in some kind of dough. I want that recipe.

Two weeks ago what started as a request for a brownie demonstration turned into a a night of all things North American.

Notice our native dress. What's more American than red, white, and levis???

We demonstrated making floats-specifically root beer floats. Brooke (in front next to me) can get the root beer only at the US Embassy, but the sisters now know how to use any gaseosa to make a float. The sisters loved the floats! We served the fruited jello salad, Toll House Cookies, Mrs. Fields cookies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and popcorn and, of course, the brownies. We told the history of each offering as well.

"This is root beer." I had to explain them what "root" meant, how it could be made at home, and that it was not beer.

This was my very first food demonstration. I practiced teaching the steps in espanol with the help of my tutor. It went well much to my relief and surprise.

The other Hermanas served the root beer floats while I told the history of brownies. Then I demonstrated how to make them. I made a double batch of layered mint brownies (Emily Chambers' recipe in the ward cookbook). Just finding the mint (menta) was an adventure. Graciela took me to a hole-in-the-wall pastry store the district of Lince (between San Isidro and Mireflores) for the mint. It is not available in supermarkets except at Christmas time. Someone in the ward will go to this little store and buy it for sisters who want to try the recipe. I also made Denece Paxton's recipe which is in the old ward cookbook. It is a classic brownie recipe. I made two box mixes so the sisters could taste the difference between homemade and boxed. The texture is also different. Boxed is not bad!

Each of us pointed out on the map where we live in the USA. I also pointed out Pennsylvania where Dad and I were born. One Hermana is from Seattle, one from Atlanta, one from Los Angeles, one from Bountiful, another from Salt Lake City, and another from Orem.

Six missionaries and one NA young mother made up the team of cooks. Brooke and her husband put together an inspiring power point of slides and videos of life in North America. She had videos of the swing, the jitterbug, the bop and twist, and ball room dancing. The slides of the regions and great cities of the USA played to Whitney Houston's stirring rendition of God Bless America.

This young mother was the sole presenter for the Bolivian night, but many members helped her with the cooking, an amazing array of foods. Another sister demonstrated the dress and dances of Bolivia. Again Bro. Ramos was there to show their power point.

This picture is realy fun. They asked everyone in attendance to post for a picture. The Bolivian night was the second of the cultural nights. Colombia was first and Peru will be next week.

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