Cocina Niervana

We made it to Costa Rica yesterday without mishap and have been placed with our host family. It has been a very pleasant surprise. Not only is everyone very nice (Mama and two daughters, both adults, 3 dogs, 1 cat and 3 parrots), but they have a much higher standard of living than I expected. First, the house. All of the houses that I have seen thus far come with iron bars on the windows and an iron gate across the front of the courtyard.  This house is quite large and encompasses the entire lot.  When one drives up to the house, a remote control open the iron gate and the car drives into a covered parking area to the left of the entrance.  There is sufficient space here to park 3 large cars.  Within the courtyard there is a large avocado tree – avocado bombs periodically drop which is convenient if you like guacamole AND you don’t happen to be standing in their path.  The house itself is built on the open-air principal – that is al fresco  The windows (no screens) are all open.  There are 4 bedrooms and two baths upstairs, 2 bedrooms and two more baths downstairs.  All of the floors are either wood or tile.  There are several seating areas, some inside and some outside.  There is another large open courtyard in the center of the house – the kitchen and living areas look out over this area which is both lovely and functional.  It is here that the parrots are housed.  There are also fruit trees – lime, orange, papaya, many many beautiful ferns and flowers and a herb garden with basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme.

The kitchen however, is my favorite room both a wonder and work of art.  I love to cook and have a very nice kitchen myself, but it doesn’t come close to this one.  First the size:  at least 30 X 15 feet with a round table in the center for casual dining.  It also has a tile bar on one end that overlooks the work/dining area.  The counter tops are all ceremic tile and there is an abundance of beautifully constructed wooden cabinets – I stopped counting at 40.  There are three (!) ovens – one electric, one gas, and one wood, two large microwaves, two coffee pots, a baking center with 2 large kitchen-aid mixers and every other modern appliance that one could imagine.  Interestingly, the dishwasher is off in a corner away from the main work center and doesn’t appear to be used on a daily basis.  Initially I am surprised that there is only one medium-sized refrigerator, until I realize that there is another rooms behind the kitchen that contains another refrigerator, a large chest freezer, two washers and two dryers.

Today, Sunday afternoon, there is a lot of extended family here – aunts, uncles, cousins, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.  There are two TV’s going – one in the kitchen, one in a den area.  Both are tuned into a big soccer game between Mexico and Costa Rica.  Between the noise of the TV’s, everyone talking at once and the men arguing about the game, the din is substantial (but not unpleasant).  Mama has her wood oven fired up and she is making homemade pizza and focaccia. She has made her dough from scratch and turns out a new pizza every 20-30 minutes – cheese,, tomato, meat, all with fresh herbs from the garden.  Everyone eats, drinks lemonade or coffee and talks talks talks, all in Spanish of course.  I sit at the bar at the end of the kitchen simply enjoy family and food.  It is obvious that they all have a lot of affections for each other.  Someone is always standing at the sink washing up – this task is shared among the women (hmmm, where are the men – oh yeah, engrossed in the soccer game.

The pizza is yummy and I feel blessed to have a window into this family’s lifestyle for the week that we will be here.  Tomorrow morning, we will be up early (which won’t be a problem since the roosters crow on the hour starting at 2 am and the sun rises at 5 am).  We leave for Spanish school at 7:15 am for our first day there.  Should have more to tell manana!




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. TammyM
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 00:47:27

    This sounds stupendously wonderful .. how nice for you and the boys!!! And this is exactly what I was hoping you would do .. I love to read about the places .. and what you do.. what have you done to occupy your time all day today?? Sounds like a beautiful place your staying.


  2. kbelle1
    Jun 13, 2011 @ 02:27:16

    It was a day to relax and acclimate!


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