Swapping recipes by Captain B


When i go out to drink coffee and smoke
Just after sun up on a weekday
While she takes first turn in the bathroom
Doña Beti is usually around
Raking leaves, watering plants, organizing the tool shed
Waiting for Magda, her daughter, to show up with the bigger plan
Or Memo or Angel and put them to work painting something
Installing or removing something- hauling or lifting something
Whatever needs to be done

She likes to talk about beasts and which are good to eat
She’s talked about iguanas more than once
I’ve seen plenty around here
The little ones are green
The big ones are black
At least the small ones i’ve seen have been green
And the big suckers black
I’m sure i haven’t seen them all

We just now chatted about the chachalacas
The southern cousin of the northern pheasants
I’m more familiar with
Saben ricos en un caldo picoso
I don’t usually eat breakfast
But had remembered seeing something about
Caldo de Mole season having begun
So i craved both dishes or any
Steaming and spicy bowl of a meat stew of some sort
Temptation threatening my usual fast

Then i mentioned that i’d seen a possum wandering around the site
The other night
Only i wasn’t sure of the word though i’d looked it up
But one can’t always trust the dictionary or academic Spanish
As the local names can be quite different from place to place
Especially if retained from the indigenous languages
Of any given region

Fell on flat ears

I explained
It lives in trees, like a rat but not, medio ciego
Oh you mean an ardilla
No, not a squirrel
Like a rat, half blind, lives in trees
Ahh! It’s black and has a long tail!
The one in question had been
Eso, i answered affirmatively
Ah yes, it has a long tail and a white stripe down its back
Um, no, wait- but i’d already affirmed so i let it go
Un zorrillo se llama
No it wasn’t a skunk, but like i said, i’d let it go

Glad i had or i wouldn’t have heard how when she was little
She had a terrible rash on both legs so her dad brought her to a ranch
Where they prepared her a hot and spicy caldo prepared with skunk meat
Careful to first remove and not puncture the anal glands located in the rectum
I pointed out (and ruined my own appetite in doing so)
To remain in the conversation and add to it?
Although my words weren’t quite so sophisticated as those
Yes, she agreed.
It was tasty and cleared the rash up within a day

I took note
Then then mentioned my grandfather’s
Snapping turtle stew

She wanted to know more

I told her
Omer, would spy a snapping turtle from time to time
When out fishing
And from time to time he’d catch one
He’d then bring it to his brother’s bar
Where they’d make a stew and put it on special

I still owe her information
And details
Concerning spice



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro