Today we were invited over to Priya's house (my language helper) for lunch. This week is an annual celebration where they honor their ancestors. Today, we got there and were served almost immediately. Her family is extremely nice, and they live in a tiny, but adequate house. They of course showed us their idols, which we've noticed many people like to point out. Theirs is a religion of showing off: if you do something good, or religious, you let others know how pious you are. Anyway, the food was delicious! It's funny because Priya had told her mother to cook things extra bland for me because she knows I can't take the spicy food too much. Knowing this, I took a big bite of potatoes, and much to my surprise, my mouth immediately began burning. Priya said, "It's not too spicy, right?" Of course I answered no, that it was perfect. We also had some sort of fried bean things covered in a yogurt sauce, which was really good, and the best (besides the fried bread that is to die for) was this pumpkin stuff. I've got to get that recipe, although since husband really loved the potatoes, I need to get that one as well. Priya assured me it's really easy. In fact, she is so interested in learning southern dishes, that she has said she will teach me her food if I teach her mine. I'm excited, and also nervous. See, at this altitude, the food takes forever to make. I actually have been without a stove since yesterday, and had the burden of trying to find dishes to make without having to use a stove at all. Sounds simple, right? Well first don't forget that many items need to boil to be cleansed. Second, don't forget that I am cooking from scratch, and without several items that are commonplace in the states, such as brown sugar. And third, don't forget that I'm in a place that doesn't sell beef, and even other types of meat are only available half of the time. So I'm cooking mainly with vegetables, that almost always need some sort of stewing or sauteeing, even when put in a casserole. So, I finally found something I could at least make for breakfast - this raisin bran cinnamon bread. The recipe called for 20 minutes in the oven, so I was pretty discouraged when over an hour later, the bread was still undone in the middle. I think I've learned my mistake from it, but it was pretty discouraging when it happened. So this is why I'm going to practice, practice, practice on all the dishes before even attempting to teach someone how to make them!
We were also invited to have a meal with another family, who husband has really developed a relationship with. Food is such an important event here, and we love how hospitable everyone is. Today, I wore traditional clothes, and I had so many women smile from ear to ear when they saw what I was wearing. One woman even crossed the street to come tell me that I was "looking smart." We had so many people come up to us today while we were walking, almost all of which we had met already, and we are really beginning to feel a part of this community which is so exciting. The father and son whom husband has developed a relationship had apparently told their wife/mother about us, and today, as we were walking home, a woman approached and us and said, "You must be [our names]." It was so funny that she could pick us out of a crowd of hundreds of thousands merely by the description from her family!
It's time to try my hand again at another dish. This time, something easier. And I learned how to make correct tea. I will let you know how it turns out.