When I left the US to embark on my South American adventure back in February, I knew that I would miss my family, my friends, and my dogs. Who wouldn’t? One thing that I did not expect to miss so much, though, was food. As I highlighted in my last post, one can find various delicias in Chile if you look in the right place (or come to embrace mayonnaise, as others have told me, but I still refuse); however there are many foods that I enjoy in the US that are not available here, whether it’s a Cook-Out milkshake with my roommate, my mom’s buttermilk pancakes, Big Red gum, or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (a staple of the college student diet). I would do unspeakable things in exchange for some Panda Express right now. Fortunately, I have found some ways to alleviate this sense of falta. One helpful and greatly appreciated solution was that my family sent me a care package with plenty of American snacks (thank you!! I’m glad you think I’m worth the postage!) Another solution, and a quite enjoyable and effective one at that, has been making friends with Chileans.
Ashleigh and I have made friends with two Chilean brothers who share an apartment in el centro of Santiago. They are college students like us and we all get along really well, especially now that they let us come over and use their kitchen. About once a week Ashleigh and I will go over and make dishes from the US (or that can at least be found in restaurants there) that are not so common in Chile, and then the four of us will have it for dinner together. It works out well for everyone: Ashleigh and I get to feel some semblance of the independent college lifestyle we are accustomed to in the US rather than being waited on by our host mothers, we get to have a “taste of home” as it were, the boys get to eat delicious food (we are basically goddesses of the kitchen po, if I do say so myself), we get to share little pieces of American culture with our Chilean friends, and we learn new kitchen and food vocabulary. It’s a fun way to unwind and spend the evening, practicing Spanish and laughing together over a home-cooked meal. One of our recent endeavors was to make cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped hamburgers. I prepared the hamburger meat and patties, and Ashleigh wrapped them in bacon and had skillet duty (and she survived touching meat with her bare hands, she is proud to say!) The boys loved them; they told me that I should move to Chile and open a restaurant because I “would become a millionaire!” and thanked us multiple times for making them “the most delicious hamburgers ever.”
We have made them “brinner” before with scrambled eggs, bacon, and chocolate-chip pancakes, as well as nachos, brownies from scratch, and penne vodka, and we have supplied them with a ladle and a spatula (we were horrified when we discovered that they didn’t have a spatula…which made the pancakes a challenge!).
Dinner with them is always one of the best parts of my week. It is strange that food of all things can trigger or cure feelings of homesickness, but our dinners always put me in a great mood, as good food, great company and wonderful memories are always to be had. Now I will have to learn how to make some platos chilenos for when I miss Chile when I am back in the States!