When abroad-ers first arrive to the country that they’ll spend the next few months in, they tend to have a few goals in mind. Maybe something like learn the language, take risks, open themselves to new opportunities, mingle with the locals, etc. These are very logical goals.

Yet, being the food obsessed person that I am, my mind is never off of the thought of my next meal or the next thing that my mouth could potentially love. So, obviously, a primary goal of mine when I first arrived to Costa Rica was food related. I am striving to find meals that I enjoy and then accumulate as many of those traditional recipes as I can for later use! I want to make sure that when I cook for myself back at home, I’ll have some tasty Costa Rican food options to choose from.

Whether I am at a soda, a small family-owned restaurant or at home with my host family, there is an abundance of food that looks and tastes orgasmic (probably because most of it isn’t very healthy… but that’s beside the point).

Since it’s not common to ask a restaurant for recipes to their meals, I decided to ask my Mama Tica for the recipes to her delicious delicacies.  You would assume that this would be an easy feat, right? That the conversation would sound something like this:

Me: Hola mamá, ¿podrías darme las recetas a algunas de las comidas que has hecho recientemente?

  • Hello mama, could you give me the recipes to some of the meals that you have done recently?

MT: Sí Megan morada, ¡por supuesto! (she calls me “Purple Megan” ever since I dyed the ends of my hair purple)

  • Yes purple Megan, but of course!

Womp. No. Life would be too simple if that were the case.

The language barrier wasn’t the problem, because I totally know my Spanish food lingo. More like she has the recipes memorized but does not know the exact amounts, rather she throws food and spices in, and judges it by taste.

Well, this complicates the process to accomplish my goal. So what does one do at this point?

  1. Give up, possibly sulk a little, and look up Costa Rican recipes online. Hope that the food tastes similarly.
  2. Hang around the kitchen whenever she’s cooking, and slyly note all that she puts into each meal.
  3. Call her “loca” (yes, we’ve gotten to that point in the relationship where teasing is acceptable) and get her to write down the recipe as similarly as she can to the original.

The third option was what I opted to do, and so far these are some of the recipes I was able to squeeze out of her: Arroz con pollo, Maracuya juice, “The best batido ever”, Salsa de tomate and Pollo dulce.  I’m excited to get back home and cook as much as I can.  I’ll introduce Costa Rica to my friends and family through the food!

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