Thursday, July 23, 2009

Girl Scouts Make Tamales

Yesterday was the longest these 13-14-year-olds had ever spent cooking, preparing, and waiting for dinner. That's what happens when your meal of choice is the Costa Rican tamale.

We didn't know what time it was (because Outward Bound's policy is that no student wear a watch), but most of the day was devoted to tamale activity:
  • Morning (after breakfast): used machetes and knives to cut big, broad leaves from banana trees
  • Afternoon, hour #1: boiled meat; cut up banana leaves into long strips; used meat broth to make the corn meal paste; boiled rice; prepared fire to boil leaves in large pot
  • Afternoon, hour #2: rolled and tied banana leaves; boiled rolled leaves for one hour
  • Afternoon, hour #3: cleaned and cut potatoes, red peppers, carrots, and cilantro
  • Before dusk: removed banana leaves from pot, untied them, unrolled them, and dried them; rolled corn meal paste into balls
  • Dusk: on criss-crossing banana strips, smushed one ball of corn meal; layed meat, rice, and vegetables on banana leaves; folded leaves corner-to-corner and tied rope around each tamale
  • Evening: boiled tamales for two hours
  • Night: opened tamales to let cool for fifteen minutes; then eat! Buen provecho!

The girls had a great time interacting with our local Tico neighbors who taught them how to do every step of the process (in Spanish). By the way the girls chowed down on the tamales, we'd have to call it a success.

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