“When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.”
Rogers and Hammerstein, from “My Favorite Things,” The Sound of Music
This is a list of my favorite foods, listed in both Spanish and English, in no particular order. I’m sure I’m leaving things out, too. Subject to change at the drop of a hat! I have many hats and they drop all the time!
Puerro (leeks) – My friend and I decided that if it’s between puerro and cebolla (onion) most likely puerros give you more bang for the buck (er, peso). These are mulituso, and also loads of fun. Each puerro is unique. I enjoy finding new and exciting uses for them.
Semilla de Amaranto (Amaranth seeds) – I discovered these recently. Amaranto is grown in Mexico and in many places in South America. I like them much more than Quinoa and I think the flavor is much less pretentious. Are they gluten free? By all means, yes! They are a grain (seed), but I don’t find amaranth seeds to be addicting at all, nor do they make me sick. Please cook them, though, because they are too hard otherwise.
Manzana – A manzana a day keeps the doctor away! Is this true for Puzzle? Yes! She doesn’t see a doctor at all! She sees a veterinaria, and loves everyone at the vet office very much.
Zanhoria (carrots) – My mom told me, when I was a kid, that if I ate any more carrots, I’d turn into one! I thought if I ate a tall food, I might grow taller. I did! I would have anyway, because that’s what young people do, but I never grew to be very tall. I’m chico! And proud of it. Puzzle loves these! Humans can eat them raw or cooked, but many dogs appreciate it if you cook zanhoria for them, and serve at room temperature.
Catalan picante (hot peppers) – These are amazing food, and come in different bright colors. I would never give these to Puzzle. I am careful, if I cut one, not to then cut food for Puzzle unless I clean the knife. But I like these in my own food very much!
Lino – (Flax seeds) – These are terrific to add to sauces and even doughs. I have been using polvo de lino, ground flax seeds, though you can grind your own. You may recall that I added a very small amount of polvo de lino in Puzzle’s birthday cake last November. It makes things made with rice flour sticky, allowing cakes and breads to form bubbles and rise, without gluten! I have heard that flax seed oil is good for menstrual and menopause related issues.
Rúcula – (I don’t know the English word for this) – this is a salad green and herb. I purchase it fresh. I love its tangy flavor. Apparently, everyone else does, too!
Oregano fresca – Fresh oregano – I’m sure I could grow this if I put effort into not killing it the way I kill most plants! It’s pungent and doesn’t taste the same as dry oregano. I like both, though. I would recommend that if you add it to your food, take the tiny, round leaves off the brittle stems, which might be annoying to find in your food.
Albahaca (basil) – This, too, comes both fresh and dried. The leaves are broad and a dark green shade. I would say it’s good in both cooked dishes and salads.
Salvia (sage) – by far, this tastes better fresh. It’s an amazing herb and adds a unique flavor to most anything.
Zappallo (a pumkin-like food in the squash family) – Our pumkins are popular year-round, and don’t seem to be limited to Halloween. I have never seen one of our pumpkins carved into a face. But perhaps this is done. Our zappallo isn’t at all the same as the ones I knew in USA. Ours are green on the outside and more bumpy. You can buy a whole zappallo or half or even a slice. It is sold by the kilo like everything else. If you only want half, ask! The vendor will gladly cut it for you with a very big knife. I found out that the skin of these is edible just like the orange meat on the inside. You can toast the seeds as well. I do!
Zappallito – there’s no comparison in USA, but I can describe what it is. This is a terrific budget food that resembles a cucumber but it’s round. The inside is somewhat like zuccini, but not quite. They vary in size, but I’d say they are the size of my fist. I have small hands, by the way. You might have trouble finding a zappallito that is as large as your own fist. Puzzle LOVES these, but I do her the favor of peeling them and cutting them up before giving them to her.
Porotos de garbanzo (Garbanzo beans, or sometimes called chick peas) – These are my favorite legume. They store well and cook much faster than most people realize.
Lentejas (lentils) – these are quick cooking legumes. Their flavor is somewhat peculiar but I like them anyway.
Huevos (eggs) – Ours are as fresh as can be! I notice the price is slowly going up, though, and seems to be the equivalent of what I recall I paid in the USA. These are best bought unrefrigerated and kept at room temperature. We can buy these in sets of 6, 12, 15, or more. If you purchase at the Feria, you will receive them carefully wrapped in newspaper. The yolks are darker than I recall the ones in USA. I have a unique way to cook them that you can try too! If you are cooking a meal in a pot, or perhaps arroz (rice), just put the egg, in its shell, right on top. When the rice is done, your egg is already cooked hard-boiled and ready to eat! Take it out, allow it to cool a bit then remove the shell. Don’t cook it that way in a microwave, though!
Pescado (fish, as food) – I have yet to explore the many types of fish here. I’d say some are better than others, but that’s just my personal taste. Puzzle can eat most fresh fish, but I won’t try giving her canned fish ever again! I found out that the salt used in canning fish is absolutely distasteful. If you’ve ever had fresh sardines (sardinas, also sardinhas), I think you will agree!
Carne (beef) – Psst! Uruguay has the best beef in the world! I give Puzzle beef heart all the time! Our corazon de carne has the fat left on it, which is good for Puzzle since beef heart would be too lean for her otherwise.
Pollo (chicken) – This is one terrific food that most dogs can eat just fine. Keep the bones away from your dog! I’m debating which cut is best for Puzzle. They all are!
Higado (liver) – This is Puzzle’s favorite, but I give it to her sparingly. Ten percent of your dog’s diet should be organ meat if you homecook. But lately, Puzzle’s tummy tells me that maybe higado is too rich for her now. Chico solo.
Café (coffee) – I only make this at home, because having it at a restaurant is too costly. It’s not easy to find any café sin azucar (without sugar). Even ground coffee has added sugar right into the grounds. Seek and ye shall find, though!
Higo fresca (fresh figs) – a delight. These are a small and handy food that store well and are good for snacking.
Coco (coconut) – You can buy this grated, or in oil form, in milk form, or a whole coconut. I believe the latter is cheapest. It’s rather versatile.
Girasol (sunflower seeds, in the shell, if they are shelled, they’re called Pipas) – These are cheap and yes, humans can eat them! If you buy these in a very large bag meant ot feed birds, be careful of bugs. Some feed stores are infested. I haven’t found bugs in them here. If they are large, you’ll need to toast them, but smaller ones are softer and can be eaten untoasted.
Here’s a secret: I ate so many girasol that now, I have grown wings! I can fly! Only when you aren’t looking, though.
Every meal is different because I am creative! I recall my mother encouraged originality and creativity when it came to just about anything in life, including food. I see nothing wrong nor disordered about making the craziest combinations you can think of. I celebrate freedom from eating disorders “care” by occasionally cutting things up into small pieces and saying to myself, “Nyah nyah.” But only if that’s what I want. Freedom to choose is wonderful and I’d wish the same for anyone.