An Evening of International Cuisine

Friday evening, I had a friend and my two next door neighbors over for dinner. And it was an international event.

My friend Nelly is Colombian and teaches Spanish at a private school. Her mother, who speaks only Spanish, is visiting for two months since school is out. I thought Nelly’s mother might enjoy meeting my Colombian neighbor (Al) and so I invited them and my other neighbor (Tanya) for dinner.

While Nelly, her mother and Al’s wife, who is Cuban, spoke Spanish, Al, Tanya and I conversed in English, with Al often joining in on the Spanish conversation.

Tanya had taken Spanish for a number of years but retained little of it, which would have been useful during mission trips to Central America. She’s headed to Guatemala next month. I took Spanish for a few years as well and retained enough for it to get by when I visited Spain in 2006.

The cuisine reflected all our backgrounds – Filipino, Hispanic and American. The wine was a Spanish fino sherry, which I came to appreciate while in Spain. We drank the sherry with appetizers of Havarti and cheddar cheeses, sausage, marinated mushrooms and garlic-stuffed olives.

The dinner entrée was pork adobo, a Filipino dish of pork chunks simmered in soy sauce and vinegar. Nelly brought arepas, a Columbian fried corn tortilla similar to a Southern “hoe cake.” Since we were eating Filipino food, I broke out some of my Philippine San Miguel beer for Al and I while the women finished off the sherry.

Dessert was definitely American – strawberry cheesecake. And since we were fairly full from all the other food, most of it was left over. And left with me!

If I had enough table space, I’d have invited the Nigerian neighbors who live across the street. They make some fine spicy dishes, including goat.

Nelly's mother, Nelly, Tanya, Al's wife Loli, and Al

Nelly’s mother, Nelly, Tanya, Al’s wife Loli, and Al

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2 responses to “An Evening of International Cuisine

  1. Sounds like a fun evening with great food and drink! You’ve inspired me to try a new recipe. I’ve often heard of Pork Adobo, but have never tried it. Looked up a few recipes online and it looks like something I can make pretty easily!

    • I think you’ll like it; let me know. Serve over rice with some of that adobo sauce poured over the rice. You can also make a chicken version, with whole chicken thighs (and legs) substituted for pork but I prefer the pork. I’ve brought it to a potluck and it was one of only two dishes that were entirely eaten.

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