Costa Rica. The rich coast. It is somewhat surprising that the Costa Rican (or “Ticos” as the locals call themselves) is not all desserts! Tico food is many things: delicious, fresh, and filling to name a few. Some aspects of Tico cuisine stand out to foreigners. Although I’m new to Costa Rica, I’m starting to pick up on the eating trends of the Ticos!
The first, and most obvious trend is the Tico staple: arroz y frijoles, or in English: rice and beans. These are the building blocks of almost every meal. The rice is usually white rice and is seasoned differently for each meal. Beans are to the Ticos what potatoes are to the Germans. The beans in Costa Rica are black black black. Beans are served either mashed or boiled.
Other students at Universidad Veritas were quick to point out another commonality of Tico food. Fruit in Costa Rica is big. Costa Rica is like that star student in class that is good at everything, and none of the other classmates even have a chance to compete. Compared to Costa Rican fruit, United States fruit is that kid with twelve older siblings that wears high-water pants and hand-me-down underwear. Not to mention, there’s fruit here I don’t even know the name of. I just call it “delicioso.”
By the end of the semester, I hope to speak Spanish well enough to tell my Mama Tica how much I absolutely love her cooking. My Mama Tica is one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. She is extremely accommodating, and not to mention her cooking could probably even compete with my Gram’s–and Gram can make the best chocolate chip cookies… EVER! Every day, Mama Tica makes a delicious meal with great food, and homemade juice (“es natural” she says). After every meal, she asks me if I liked everything and if there’s anything else I would like. (Usually the answer’s “no” because if she fed me any more I would burst!) During dinner, my Papa Tico likes to talk with us and help us practice Spanish.
In my opinion, eating in Costa Rica isn’t just about sustenance. In a country that places importance on relationships, eating is much more. Sharing a meal is about sharing love, sharing thoughts, and sharing time with others. Dining is one of many parts of the Tico culture I am eager to take part in!