Thursday, January 28, 2010
Five Second Rule
It has become tradition for me to help Seno Lili prepare lunch. It started by me telling her that I need to learn how to cook fish (i’ve always been a chicken cook) and it turned out she was more than delighted to oblige. The fish instruction led to shrimp instruction led to fish soup instruction and before I knew it I was pretty much taking Chef Lili cooking classes. The manner in which she shows me how to cook things even makes it feel like I am taking a cooking class. She relays instructions as if she were dictating a recipe. “First, wash the fish. Then descale it with a knife or fork. Make slits under the belly and remove the insides. Wash thoroughly. Make two more slits from the gills towards the tail and fill all openings with salt. Heat oil in the pan and fry fish 10 minutes on each side (the second side may be less). Serve with lime, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and tortillas (can’t forget the tortillas).”
About a month ago while I was receiving Sautéed Beef in Salsa Inglesa lessons Seno Lili dropped a tomato that she was chopping on the tile floor. I quickly picked it up and said, “regla de 5 segundos” or “5 second rule.” Everyone knows the five second rule right? Well, unfortunately this crucial little known “fact” hasn’t reached Guatemala because Seno Lili had no idea what I was talking about. I explained it to her: if you drop food on the floor as long as you pick it up before its been there for five seconds its still safe to eat.
Since that day, every time she drops something on the floor she says, “cinco segundos” “five seconds” and picks it up, gives me a smile and goes along with what she was doing. She uses the five second rule for everything, mango slices, onions, baby bottles. She absolutely loves it.
So, for the record, I'm considering the introduction of the five second rule to Guatemala as a Peace Corps goal #2 (help promote a better understanding of the American people on the part of the peoples served) success.
*For those of you with sanitation concerns, I’d like to reassure you that Seno Lili’s floors are very clean. They are tiled and moped regularly with disinfectant.