Monday, August 22, 2016

Salteñas

I think I’ve mentioned before that hubby is from Bolivia. We deal with a lot of difference from both culture and beliefs, and it’s taken years for us to truly understand one another. Even when we think we know each other, there’s always something new to learn.

Hubby hasn’t been back to Bolivia for several years, and we’ve talked about returning for a visit multiple times. Whenever I ask him if he would like to live there again, he always says no.
His response is always the same. The thing he misses most is the food.

I’ve tried some of the Bolivian food. It’s pretty good. It’s different than what I’m used to, but I still enjoy it. I’ve offered several times to try and learn how to make some of it, but he doesn’t want me to. He thinks that I’ll mess it up and it just won’t taste right.

A few years ago, we found a restaurant in a nearby town that made salteñas.

Now if you don’t know what salteñas are, you’re really missing out. The best way I can describe them is that they’re like empañadas, but instead of filling them with cheese, they’re filled with soup. One of the greatest challenges to eating them is trying to do it without spilling all over. It’s a process of eating, sucking and licking so that you can keep clean.

I know, it sounds kind of gross, but it’s not.

When we first found the restaurant, hubby wanted to go every day. Every time he had the car, he would come home with three or four salteñas, and he would share with me.

Some Salteñas my MIL made

Now, I said they were good, but not so good I wanted to eat them every day for weeks on end.

It took me a while before I could figure out why hubby loved them so much. They were his comfort food. The stuff that reminded him of home. He ate it because it reminded him of his family and his homeland. Of all the senses, I think taste and smell are the most potent, especially when they’re connected to memories.

I can relate. When I lived in Spain, I frequented the American store, and the things that excited me were always random, but reminded me of home. Things like Kraft Mac and Cheese. Or Pop Tarts.

What kind of food do you associate with home? I’m curious about all of your traditions!