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.