It’s midnight. I am sitting in a kitchen listening to the two women nattering away in a mix of Spanish and English. There is a sense of slowness to each of our thoughts and actions. It is late. I watch how the peppers are slowly roasted on a skillet, each one turned when the skin has blackened. The flour tortillas are hand-pressed and cooked on two similar skillets. A pot of beans boil. Whicha, Manuela’s sister, peels the roasted jalapeño and yellow peppers then adds the roasted tomatillos and mashes them all by hand. She says the peppers will burn her hand for a day. I am not eating out of hunger; I have been eating all day. The beans and fresh cheese tame the green salsa, but only a little. I am still so full, but the flavor! I eat another one. It’s just to taste the freshness. It has been so long since we have eaten for pleasure. For the last 4 years, in Calgary and even Victoria, we have been plagued with the loathed eternal question; what is for supper? How I used to envy exothermic animals. Eating is such a chore. Why do we have to do it so damn often? Surely once a week should be enough! Of course there were a few highlights, the Calgary crab and steak fests or eating over at friends and relatives in Victoria. We have re-entered a land of flavor. I have eaten 26 grapefruits in 40 hours including eating 5 in one sitting. I cannot get enough of them. My throat got a bit sore, but they were so flavorful. The box of 60 was $6.00. This flavor does not survive the transport to Canada. Unless its calm, eating on the boat is also just a chore, it ranks with swabbing the deck or washing the sails, but it’s required frequency makes it more onerous.
Yesterday we sat under a pomegranate tree with several new friends. We picked the pomegranates off the tree and placed them all in a row. Most of the new acquaintances were practitioners of various naturopathic medicines. They were specialists in spiritual healing through acupuncture, native medicines and personal energy rejuvenation, craniosacral therapy and wisdom readings to name a few. The pomegranate seeds were deep ruby red, and burst with a satisfactory crunch. I believe my questions were logical as well as sincere. I also think I conveyed my cynicism while remaining respectful. There was a point that I stopped asking questions. It was easy because the juicy flavor was so easy to enjoy, you could almost lose yourself in those luscious red seeds. It was when one lady described her belief in a raw foods diet. Apparently it’s not just composed of salads as she was going to make a vegan uncooked lasagna for dinner. Each person took turns giving us warm heart-felt hugs upon our departure, the sincerity of which affirmed that I had not offended anyone with my cynicism, or perhaps that I just kept my mouth shut enough. When we returned home, we ate spicy shredded beef boiled with peppers and onions, refried beans and brown rice with corn, all eaten with fresh cooked corn tortillas topped with either red spicy salsa or the green one that is really spicy.