Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Huevos batidos

Somebody asked me if I cooked while I was in Bolivia. I meant to cook pancakes and perhaps some other things. As it turned out, I spent most of my time either tasting foods that were cooked for me or doing something else (such as seeing the country). I never did make pancakes.

I did try one bit of cooking. There, as here, scrambled eggs are a common breakfast food. (It's not common in Italy. Some hotels serve scrambled eggs in an effort to cater to visitors from elsewhere, but I would advise visitors from elsewhere to choose anything besides eggs to eat in an Italian hotel.)

I tried my friend's scrambled eggs. They were good, but they were nothing like the scrambled eggs I make at home. Preparation can make a huge difference. One guest prepared scrambled eggs when he visited me at home, and although I watched him do it, I have never quite replicated his results. My Bolivian friend did several things I usually do differently, so the next morning that we ate eggs, I asked to cook them.

At his suggestion, I prepared three eggs, one for each person eating. I've done this many times at home, with reasonably consistent results. I preheated the pan (he did not). I diced and sauteed a small onion to add some flavor. I scrambled the eggs in a bowl before I poured them into the pan (he cracked his directly into the pan). I added salt, pepper, and a bit of leftover cheese.

My eggs came out differently than his eggs, naturally. "Like an omelet," he remarked. And they were tasty enough. But my eggs came out more like his eggs than my own eggs at home, and I don't know what the difference was. The color was lighter, and the consistency was all different. It might have been the pan (mine is heavier). It might have been that his is a propane stove (mine is natural gas). It might have been the altitude (I live at sea level). It might have been the eggs (likely fresher and more natural than the typical grocery store fare here in California).

He recalls hearing on a cooking show that, when cooking in a new place, an egg is a good place to start to learn how things will behave. After this experience, I think it is good advice. I never did get around to making him pancakes, but for him to eat my pancakes, he may have to visit my kitchen.



Blogger Chriswaterguy said...

I was going to say "it must be the altitude", and that's probably a big one, but probably all the factors contribute, especially the quality of the ingredients.

I've similar experiences of cooking things in Indonesia (a Thai vegetable & coconut soup) that turned out completely differently from how they did in Australia. Altitude was the same. So I gave up and ate other people's food for a long time after that.

And an Indonesian friend in Australia said she had to cook differently when she came here and used Australian wheat flour.

19 January, 2010 16:38  
Blogger Wilfredo Rodriguez said...

I have noticed differences between Venezuelan eggs with respect to Miami. I think also a question of attitude rather than of composition.

20 January, 2010 08:08  

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