Monday, September 28, 2009

Back on the Net, and a New Stove!

When a "Mexico" blogger is gone for a while and you hear nothing from them it is a good guess that Telmex got them. Telmex is the phone company in Mexico. Think AT&T before all the little guys broke up the monopoly, and then pretend their service was good, 'cause Telmex makes them look Great! Then realize that if there is a problem with anything you go to Telmex, and wait in line for hours. That is how you pay them also. For real, you can't call, or email. In person is all they do. And you can forget service, they don't do service. If you get connected, fixed, or anything else besides charged for service it was an accident, trust me. Recently while looking into contracts for a phone, I read part of their website. They have the government-issued "monopoly" for another 20 years. Thank God they have already used up 30 years of it. Crimey! You do not want to know how depressing that is. Those of you who are in Mexico already know.

Anyway, we are back online, and I won't say any more since I am sure I am now on Telmex's shit list and we will never get phone service in our own names.

We had a storm and it managed to take out phone service for only two houses on our street. And we were one of the lucky ones. (Actually, my landlady was the lucky one since we just mooch her wireless internet.) It wasn't the same storm that ate my TV. Electricity here is another story for another day. Suffice it to say, when you are hooked up directly to the lines on the poles, with nothing in between you and the power, and the power flexuates and comes and goes, and surges and wanes, your electronics don't last as long. Then zap them a few times and turn the power up and down a few times more. Not good.

Good news! I got a stove, a real stove. Oven and all. Wow, and on sale. It was the floor model (and the last and discontinued) so was marked down, and guess what, if you ask, but only if you ask, they look on the computer and there is almost always another discount they can give you. Luckily, hubby is a pain in the tush to shop with and is never sure if he wants to buy or what. After running the saleswoman all over and back, then running the really young, like 16 yr. old, guy that she dumped us off on all over and back, then leaving and coming back several times, and going to every other store in the whole city for two days, my stove was only $2500! The others the same size, etc. were about $3500. Unfortunately, hubby went back in this week, can you say obsessed!, and they now have a nicer one marked at the original marked-down price, so he is sure we were robbed. haha
But I don't care, I have a stove and an oven.

It even looks like a stove (like a US stove that is) although it is about as similar in reality as the ones your 3 yr. old has. Ok, the oven window isn't really a window, it is a piece of thin metal painted to look like the dark window on a US oven. It is a great paint job, we didn't even know it wasn't a window for three days. The one above is almost like mine. Although I think it has the real window. And there is no light for said oven. There is no broiler, that panel is fake and screwed on. And the knob has 1-5 not actual temperatures. And there is no insulation around the oven, nothing. I'm figuring for people who have been using an adobe wood oven outside this is a major step-up. I hope to get a thermometer so I can actually use it.

The picture above is how you can buy them. No oven, but a really nice little cabinet, made of really thin metal (tin? aluminum?) All the people I know here in Mexico who have an oven use it only for pot, pans, supplies and plates. It is a status symbol and nothing more. The cabinet makes more sense to me. (And cheaper, soy coda.) Maybe they should paint that window on them and put on false knobs.

Now we're cooking with gas. I just have to wait until next week to have enough money to buy food to cook.

Edit: I just realized I said people use their ovens for pot, that should be pots, but it is too funny so I left it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Help me cook...

Ok, I've run out of things to cook. Everyone talks about how great it is to have all this fresh produce, and I agree, but... How many things can I make with a couple of pots and pans, actually no pots just a couple of pans, and the same veggies every day. I love mexican food, really I do, but my friends here would have no trouble going on one of those 10 favorite food menu plans. I need some ideas.

Here is what we have to work with: fresh chicken, fresh beef (but not much that I know what it is since I have to ask for it in spanish, so think ground and "bee steak" which isn't steak at all but very thinly sliced who-knows-what-part), and sometimes, pork or fish. Chiles, tomatoes, tomatillos, calabazitas (little green squash), calabaza flowers, chiles, potatoes, chiles, onions, various herbs- epezote, cilantro, papalo, chiles, papaya, bananas, mangos, nopales, chiles. There are chiles, chiles and chiles- different colors, sizes, and types. Everything seems to be made with chiles, tomatoes and onion. Oh, and beans, beans, beans. There are also carrots, peas and beans but they are rather expensive as are the potatoes.

Sounds like a lot, but some how I am just not getting it. For one thing, my husband likes chile in everything. He is used to chile, tomato and onion. And beans and tortillas. And being from the south, he only wants black beans. (There is a "bean line" in Mexico, no kidding that is what they call it. South of Mexico City they eat black beans. North they eat the lighter beans.)

I am longing for a lasagna, a cake, some cookies, cinnamon toast, spaghetti, chicken and dumplings. I am not even sure what I want, or what I lack, but it seems so much harder here to make it. We don't have "normal" stoves. It is more gas burners on a metal stand. Maybe I just miss having an oven and a microwave. Maybe a nice budget gourmet frozen something, or a hotpocket.

I shouldn't complain too much, when we were in Tuxtepec I got really good at cooking over an open fire outside. Even had my own little "table" to cook on.

That is the "stove" in back. (My hubby is in front of it at another table.)
This is not mine, it is step-mother-in-law's, mine wasn't as nice, but my little grill-potholder thingy was better cause my hubby made it especially for me at a metal taller (shop).

I have been thinking about it a lot. Maybe it is the spices, and combinations of spices, that are not available here. I don't know. Maybe it is that I have to go to the store for everything, every day because we have no frig and no cabinettes. Maybe it is not being able to open a bunch of cans. Or a freezer. Or a box of mix.

Anyway, if you have any recipes that only use onions, tomatoes and chiles...

I feel like a flipflop

The children of Centro de Educacion Preescuelar Lic. Miguel Aleman in Cerro Armadillo Grande, Oaxaca, ready to dance at their year-end program. May 2008

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post, I just think they are cute. And this post is rather boring, but since I haven't written I thought I should up-date all the drama from the last couple.

The hubby came back. He seems to have a sensor that tells him when he has pushed just a little too far. Anyway, he is back and working! He came back the day after I wrote the last post. (No he doesn't read these. He doesn't read english.) And he really didn't get at least a couple of the messages I sent. We'll see what happens. So far, so good.

The landlady has now given us a 6-month (verbal) lease. She seems to have a sensor, too. Or maybe it was that I told her we had found another place and that, yes, it was just as big, and yes, it was the same price, and yes, they don't mind my puppy, and actually it is bigger and I would have my own patio. Anyway, we are staying here: 1. because all my "family" is here and 2. the other apartment doesn't have internet! (I didn't tell her that, she would probably want to charge me more.)

Tomorrow, a plea for culinary help...