The Honduran Independence Day is September 15. I was shocked to learn that people here don't celebrate like we celebrate July 4th in the US. No one buys sparklers and there are no cookouts. There is a parade...but no one seemed to know where it started or who/what marched in it.
So, being the little party planner that I am, I announced that we (meaning Jose and I and our friends) would be celebrating Sept 15 MY way. :) I planned a cookout at the country house in Valle de Angeles.
I planned on having a strawberry/feta salad, burgers, corn on the cob, apple pie, and a flag cake (of the Honduran flag, of course). The day before, Jose and I made a trip to the supermarket to buy our supplies. They didn't have any of the supplies that we needed. They did have hamburger meat and buns, and sweet corn. And I should I have know this was going to happen. I have been able to avoid a lot of mistakes here in Honduras so far by learning from my fellow ex-pat bloggers. They always write about how they can never find what they need here. And so far, this has been true for me. If I'm craving bagels, Pais won't be selling them that week. What I consider a good find one week (like whipped Philly cream cheese!), they will probably never sell again. So, like I said, I should have known and planned for this.
There was no feta, no raspberry vineaggrete, no pre-made frozen pie shells (and I mean, really, who knows how to make homemade pie crust??), and the biggest disappointment...no blueberries (for the flag cake). I decided to drop the salad off the "menu," attempt a homemade pie crust, and get creative with the cake. I bought regular cake mix, white frosting, and after searching for 30 minutes, found food coloring. I should mention quickly, just so you understand my frustration, that none of these things were where they "should be" in a normal grocery. The cake mix was not with the frosting. In fact, I think it was with the canned goods. The food coloring was hidden behind boxes of other things (not baking supplies!). And they did not have blue coloring. All they had were green and yellow. Me being the genius that I am, remembered that green and yellow make blue, so we bought both bottles (at 100 lempiras each...like $5 each!!!)
We took our groceries and packed up the car and headed to Valle. That night, we prepared all of the food. And I made my cake....with green icing...because yellow and green don't make blue...blue and yellow make green!
Are you laughing? It gets better. :)
The next day, our guests arrived, and we decided it was time to get the grill ready and cook the burgers up. We waited until they got there because, as you know, it only takes like 15 minutes to cook burgers on a grill. Well, not this grill! It uses wood, not charcoal. And evidently, I'm not very good at starting fires in these types of grills. We had to get the guard's wife to come and help us. She taught us to fan the flames. It turns out she cooks on a stove like this for every meal. HELLO - this is 2008. I want to buy this woman an electric stove. I mean, this is obviously why women here in rural areas don't work. They spend all day fanning the fire so they can cook 3 meals...they don't have time to work!
So we all took turns fanning the fire...for FOUR HOURS! After about 20 minutes, it would go out, and we'd have to call her back to help us again.
After suffering from burns on our hands, burning eyes from the smoke, and very tired arms, we decided to let the "men" take over. They did, after a little begging, and they got it going and cooked up all the food. They said they had more skills than us. I'm pretty sure it was so easy for them because we spent so much time getting the fire going before they got there!
In the end, the food was good. And even if it wasn't, no one noticed because we were all so hungry from waiting so long to eat! :) Haha!