Robin Mather Special at the Arizona Daily Star
A Mexican-American craftsman, Carlos, has been doing a lot of work with me lately. He’s nice to my embryonic Spanish, and answers questions with gusto and without making fun of me … too much.
One day, I pointed to my Chemex coffee maker. “Que es esto?” An old cafe? “ I asked him. I had thought about it. “Olla” means pot, and “Coffee” means coffee. Logically, a coffee maker could be “Una olla de café,” right?
He smiled before he managed to regain control of his face. “No, mija. Una olla es mucho más grande, para cocinar. Esto es una cafeterra ” – essentially explaining that a “Olla” is much larger and used for cooking.
During these brief conversations, I began to understand that Carlos loves to cook, and little by little he told me about the dishes he loves to cook for his family. Sometimes he had pictures of the finished dishes on his phone to show me.
Here is the beautiful white sangria, dazzling with berries, which he had served at a family party the previous week.
And here’s the ceviche he made, full of shrimp, octopus, and other seafood. There was a platter of oysters – “Ostiones”, he said, toasted in the half-shell and topped with garlic and butter.