Saturday, March 29, 2008

Typical Canary Food

Ropa Vieja (old clothes)--meat with vegetables and chickpeas


Goat and Sheep cheese

Papas Arrugadas (Wrinkled Potatoes) with Mojo sauce


Meat in typical Canary sauce served with wrinkled potatoes

In my previous post I talked about what we eat here on the mission field--now, as far as what the Canary Islanders eat--that is a whole other story. They are largely influenced by Spanish, African, and South American cuisine. The main meal of the day, usually in the afternoon, (they close down the shops from 1:30-4:00 to go home for lunch) would consist of several courses, beginning with a thick soup or stew--called potaje, which is made from scratch containing anything from chicken stock, vegetables, watercress, and garbanzo beans. The main entree is some sort of grilled meat or fish in sauce which is typical to the islands. The meat is often chicken, rabbit, goat, pork, or beef. They also eat a lot of fish and seafood (including octopus and squid--my five year old Leanna likes to look at it in the grocery store). Along with the main entree they often serve something called "wrinkled potatoes" which are small, new potatoes boiled in about 8 cups of coarse salt--after they are cooked makes the skins appear shriveled, but the inside of the potato has a nice flavor, and they put a special sauce on them called "mojo" which can be either red or green. Mojo is made from oil, vinegar, garlic, peppers and a variety of herbs and spices. The islands are also famous for its goat cheese, and homegrown wines.

Native to the Canary Islands is a staple called gofio, which is made from roasted grains and made into a bread like food, used to thicken sauces and even found in ice cream! It is also common to purchase fresh bread, either from the local bakery or supermarket--right out of the oven. My girls love to go and get a loaf and eat it hot with butter. It is similar to french bread--crusty on the outside, soft on the inside. Desserts are much more simple here, such as fruit, yogurt, or flan. They also make confections with almonds and honey, perhaps similar to marzipan. Occasionally they will go to the local bakery and purchase a small piece of cake, but they eat much less dessert here than what typical Americans would eat. Dinner in the Canary Islands is very late, usually after 8 or 9 pm (since many work until after 8 since they close during the afternoon hours during the siesta). It might be a fish soup, meat, or bread--but on a much lighter scale than the afternoon meal. All this talk about food is making me hungry....I think I will go make lunch.

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