Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Yummy Yuca

We started our Spanish classes yesterday with ISSCR. This is a little school which is run out the spacious garage of Doña Ligia’s house near Pollo Cervecero in Heredia. The tutors, Wes & Rafa, previously worked at another language school in Heredia, but didn’t like the fact that at that school the business seemed more important than the students, so they set up on their own. Their teaching style is very informal and mostly conversational – the grammar points are covered as they come up in conversation. The lessons are 4 hours each day and, for these first two days at least, have flown by. We are their only students for this week and next with the exception of a German woman named Frauke who comes once a week (on Tuesday). We essentially have one-to-one tuition with Colin working mostly with Rafa, and Zoë mostly with Wes.

Wes is a keen chef, and so the conversation often turns to food and cooking. Rafa is giving Colin a lot of information about Costa Rica in general, and as such today we were all discussing fruits and vegetables that are available here. And so it turned out after class we had the urge to go to the mercado central in Heredia to buy yuca before getting the bus home.

In Scotland yucca is a popular houseplant. We are not sure if yucca and yuca are the same plant; sources on the web are very conflicted! Anyway, in Costa Rica, yuca root is eaten as a staple vegetable, much like potatoes – boiled, mashed, fried etc etc.

Wes described how to prepare the root (in Spanish, of course!). The skin is poisonous so has to be removed, which is very easy when you know how. After you’ve cut the root into chunks a couple of inches wide, cut through the skin lengthways (between the cut ends) and ease it away from the chunk of yuca in one piece. We decided to boil then mash the root with some butter and milk, and ate it with some left over pollo asado from yesterday and ensalada. Verdict: very tasty!

Please Note: This is a stock photograph (borrowed from Wikipedia!). We did not eat all this yuca!

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