My excuse used to be ignorance. I simply didn’t know how to make a pot of beans. Sure, I’d seen my mom, Mamá Toni and tías make them several times, but I didn’t trust myself not to totally screw up. Then I found some simple recipes and instructions by El Chavo and La Traductora. They seemed foolproof. I could do this. I bought a bag of beans and then let them sit on the shelf. I’d found a new excuse: time. I couldn’t wait two hours for a bowl of beans.
But tonight I was craving beans and I had time. I pulled up the recipes and got to work on my first ever pot of beans. While the beans cooked I made some salsa de tomatillo and salmon enchiladas*. I made a mess in the kitchen, but my food was delicious and filling.
After cleaning up, I called Mom to share the news that I had not ruined my first pot of beans.
“I made dinner tonight.”
“What did you make?”
“Salmon enchiladas with salsa de tomatillo, frijoles de la olla and rice. Well, the rice was leftover.”
“Who were you cooking for?”
“No one, just for me.”
“You didn’t invite anyone over?”
“What kind of beans did you make? Peruvian or pinto?”
“Pinto. They came out funny looking, the bean juice was too dark.” (Next time I’ll avoid the beans in the 1 pound bag and look for something fresher.)
“You know what you need to do, when you add more water you have to make sure it’s boiling. That’s the secret.”
“I did that… I just messed up at the beginning.”
“How did they taste?”
We talked some more about the enchiladas, which she insisted I bring over tomorrow. She reasoned that she always sends me back to LA with leftovers and it was time I reciprocated.
“I hope you like the enchiladas. I didn’t use the canned salsa. I made it from scratch.”
“Wow. Ya te puedes casar.” (Tr: You can get married now.)
“I knew you were going to say that.”
“Are you going to write about this on your blog?”
“No way. I’m too ashamed.”
“But it would make a good story.”
Mom can be quite convincing. I should get her to talk to the boyfriend.
*I’ve been craving salmon enchiladas for a long time. Sadly, Pacificos closed down in the summer. Their salmon enchiladas were amazing.