Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Meal 22. Curaçaoan Kabritu Stobá and Funchi

Guiselle was a bit hesitant to be "the chosen one" to make a Curaçaoan meal for this project, because she usually doesn't cook any traditional meals. Partly because her boyfriend is a strict vegetarian. However, somehow she managed to convince him to go to the butcher for tonight's Kabritu Stobá, stewed goat's meat (but he won't be joining us!). Guiselle has had this dish often enough at home, but never made it on her own. She got a little help with the recipe from her mom (by phone) and her friend Rayla's grandmother (by email). She invited her friends Rayla and Diana to come by to help with the preparations...but when I arrive Guiselle jokes: "As true Curaçaoans, of course they will be at least an hour late!"

And indeed, they are...when they arrive they're very impressed by all the dishes Guiselle has already prepared: the Kabritu Stobá, which has been marinated in lemon juice since the night before, Banana Hasa (fried plantains) and Funchi (cooked cornmeal). Plus some rice with vegetables and a fresh salad (home-grown lettuce) with feta.
For those who have never heard of Curaçao; it's an island off the coast of Venezuela that is part of the "Dutch Antilles" which is a self-governing part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They have their own coin, stamps, etc., but all inhabitants have the Dutch nationality and travel on a Dutch passport. Though Curaçao does have it's own university, many high school graduates come to the Netherlands to study. Guiselle tells me that before coming, she received a little course to prepare her for Dutch society. Here we have a little hallway before arriving in the living room, in Curaçao the front door often opens right into it. Movies were shown so that students would know what to expect. But it didn't prepare them for Dutch weather! Rayla tells about her first winter day she was walking down the street with a friend and all of a sudden little white balls came falling from the sky. "What is this?!", she asked. The answer was:"Hailstones!"
She was so excited to actually see them in real life, she stayed outside in wonder while everybody else fled inside. Afterwards she called her mother to tell her about this novel experience. Guiselle laughs:"I also called my mom, after seeing snow for the first time!"
Over dinner, while enjoying Izaline Calister's songs, the three friends all agree the Kabritu tastes just like it's supposed to. We're all a bit disappointed in dessert, though...the Kesiyo tastes like a sweet omelet instead of like caramel custard! Guiselle is the first to say it, so we don't feel too bad for not finishing it. But she has tea and home-baked raisin cake to appease us.
While we're washing the dishes (at left), they recall the "bubbling" parties at high school. Lights would be dimmed and girls would be standing against the walls with boys dancing closely behind them. When the parents would come and have a look, everybody would be innocently dancing about a meter apart. Mom and dad gone? Up against the wall! Sadly, the parents did find out after a while and bubbling parties were no longer allowed...
Some guys they knew from high school are now in a popular reggaeton group called Immorales.
The girls laugh at their lewd lyrics and "street image", as they recall:"They used to be such nice, well-mannered boys!"

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