This week’s video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE8OiKvVV6E) takes us to San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, in South America and different people, new food, risky places and even dangers!
Even the flight team contributed to our international recipe collection en route Costa Rica via Los Angeles. Kate, one of the Delta flight stewards, shared her salad dressing ingredients of avocado, tomatoes, green chilli and mango – all whizzed together.
In the Costa Rica capital, San Jose, the tourist information desk saved our bacon by helping us get a taxi to the location of the National Association for Blind People. One of the complicating factors of this developing nation is that there are no real addresses anywhere! We had the same problem later when searching for chef Mario’s home. The solution is to ring your destination and someone comes out to watch for your arrival.
Again, as this is a developing country, some of the everyday conveniences we take for granted were missing. For example, it would be very unusual to have a dishwasher. Most kitchens only have a cold water supply which makes cleaning greasy pots and pans more laborious. And, as you’ll hear over the coming weeks, sometimes even the cold water fails at the most inconvenient moments!
It was very humbling to start my visit by addressing the association of blind people. They wanted to hear about the Holman prize adventure and my own experience of blindness. Their response was hugely positive: they asked lots of questions, invited me to stay with them and visit El Salvador. The cooking theme clearly touched their enthusiasm: many were asking for their own course while others had skills and recipes to share. The upshot was that, on the spot, we organised another group session when I would cook at the capital’s top cookery school with them in a week’s time. Many were very keen to get back to work and wanted help to start their own businesses and become self-employed. Our collective cheer was to encourage other people to “Give us a chance”, whether in work or other activities, rather than just considering us as needy blind people.
As this country continues to progress, there is also a pressing need to increase support for blind and other disabled people – I’d have loved the chance to do more, share more of my experience and help others become more independent.
Next week, I start my jungle cooking adventure – really challenging!