Disclaimer: I actually love most Chilean food. It's pretty fresh (Claudia goes to the grocery store basically everyday and apologizes when she has to give me bread from the day before. I told her that at school I pretty much just wait until bread gets moldy to throw it away. She just shook her head at me. Silly gringita!) and it's also pretty tasty. Empanadas, juicy tomatoes! My favorite meal so far has been "pastel de papas" which literally translated is "potato cake" It's basically just mashed potatoes with seasoned ground beef and eggs in the center. It is amazing. Sometimes I dream about it.
Anyway, back to my story. Today I sat down for dinner and looked at my plate of "salad" and realized I really really really just want an American salad. With dark lettuce (and maybe even those weird purple things I whine about to my mother), spinach, carrots, mushrooms, maybe some goat cheese, and a nice vinaigrette. Or Greek dressing? OH GREEK DRESSING I MISS YOU. Instead, I was faced with a plate of shredded iceberg lettuce. Legit a pile of lettuce. Granted it did have traditional Chilean salad dressing, which is a truly delicious combo of oil and vinegar and yumminess. But still, A PILE OF LETTUCE? AND ICEBERG LETTUCE?
Here are some common characteristics of Chilean "salad" I've encountered:
- Onions and tomatoes and oil dressing. My first day Claudia set this out next to my plate and I thought it was like some sort of appetizer? Or side dish? So I spooned out some tomatoes onto my big plate and left the rest on the table. I would soon learn that this was actually a salad and the entire plate was actually for me.
- Iceberg lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and oil dressing. See above.
- Iceberg lettuce and celery. Oh and dressing.
- Iceberg lettuce, onions, tomatoes, a hard boiled egg, oil dressing, and mayo. Yes mayo.
- Iceberg lettuce, onions, tomatoes, a hard boiled egg, avocado, oil dressing and mayo. WHY DID YOU RUIN THE DELICIOUS AVOCADO WITH MAYO? WHY? I LOVE AVOCADO. CHILEANS LIKE AVOCADO. WHY IS THERE MAYO?
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "The Megan I know pretty much only wants to eat red meat, specifically filet mignon, WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?" but never fear, my love of juicy, rare steak has not deserted me. It's the same thing that happened when I went to Mexico and didn't eat the lettuce (or anything that didn't have a skin that got peeled off) and came home and demanded salad all the time. I had no idea that salad played such an important role in my life.
First day back on U.S. soil I would like a salad from Chop't. Or Panera. With cheese in it. And no iceberg lettuce.
Check back soon for updates on Chiloe! Chao for now!