Thanksgiving Costa Rica Style
Sometimes, especially during the holidays, I miss my traditional food from back home. Thanksgiving is no exception - well, perhaps, especially Thanksgiving since catching up with loved ones around a large meal is what Thanksgiving has meant to me for years. This year was our first Thanksgiving Costa Rica Style.
Living here in the southern zone of Costa Rica was our choice. As we've mentioned before, we like the cost of living, more socializing with the Ticos than other areas, and the slower pace of life is what drew us here to San Buenas, between Chontales and Ojochal. That being said,,,,trying to find traditional style Thanksgiving day food is almost impossible!
Staple foods found back home, are not surprisingly difficult to find here in Costa Rica (flip the idea around: how many traditional Costa Rica foods does a typically grocery store carry in the USA?).
Lisa and I made our shopping list and then went out to find the ingredients for our typically Thanksgiving meal. We went shopping for cream of mushroom soup for my green bean casserole, any type of Stovetop stuffing, and a spiral sliced ham...we went 0-for-3.
We did find a Butterball Turkey at the BM in Palmar Norte. They were all huge and only one price ….19,000 colones (~US$31). The decision was easy not to spend over $30 on turkey since it was just going to be Lisa and our neighbor Derrick to eat. So we went home with our normal weekly groceries, and some of the side fixings that we could find, and decided to plan for a Thanksgiving Costa Rica style instead.
On our new list we only had one destination on it: there is a local butcher just down the road from us in a town called Coronado and we were going meat shopping! Woo-hoo! Meat shopping! For those who remember watching the TV Show Home Improvement, I let out a Tim Allen-inspired-male-grunt-of-excitement and we dashed to the SUV.
The butcher cuts the meat "made to order" and we asked for a slab of ribs. He brought out this HUGE chunk of meat from the storage locker (it had to be at least 2.5 feet long!) and asked us how much we wanted. Using my hand signals, and over-dramatic facial expressions (I'm still working on my Spanish) we got exactly the amount we wanted. Next we ordered a kilo of ground beef - that was easier to order. Finally, we ordered six pork chops, each about 1.5 inches thick, which he cut to order. The entire bill was the same as the single BM turkey: 19,000 colones.
Supporting the local families here, and getting away from the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving was a wonderful, albeit initially unplanned, idea.
We got back home to the condo we are renting, fired up the grill and got to 'work'! Is grilling considered work? Look at how hard I'm working and how stressed out I look in the photo below.
So we should have enough food to carry us over until the end of the month, just without the turkey dressing and all of the casseroles of years past. I realize that for Costa Ricans it is just another Thursday, but with all of the turkeys and chickens running around the rural areas, I would strongly encourage them to celebrate Thanksgiving Costa Rica style with us next year. I suppose if we had lived next to a Walmart, Pricemart, or other big chain store, this blog would not exist. We count our blessings and give thanks everyday that we live where we do, and for our wonderful opportunity to live here with amazing people and amazing wildlife.
Let us know if you'd like to join us next year for a Thanksgiving Costa Rica style. We will find you a place to stay and show you around our piece of paradise here in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica.
Pura Vida and Happy Thanksgiving!