“When are you going to make us the Nicaraguan breakfast, Mom?”
The boys had been asking me to share a typical meal for me while I traveled in Nicaragua with WaterAid America last March. I noted that our meals often included the same basic staples and whatever was in season. Rice, beans, eggs, bread, tortilla, chicken, watermelon, avocado. These foods are basically all I ate for a week. While the food was good, my body craved a salad when I got home.
I told the boys I’d make them a Nicaraguan-style breakfast once I could bring myself to eat beans and rice again.
I cooked them their Nicaragua breakfast last month. It consisted of scrambled eggs, a red beans and rice mixture, and watermelon. It would have been fun to have found some coconut juice, but I didn’t think of that detail until later. I skipped the plain non-toasted bread and “cheese.” I put cheese in quotation marks because I had asked what kind of cheese I kept seeing on my plate (and between the avocado slice and eggs in the above picture). Joshua, WaterAid’s country director in Nicaragua, told me that it’s just called cheese. There’s no other description of it.
I kept the breakfast simple, without much more than salt and pepper for spices. You don’t find a whole lot of spice options in a kitchen like this:
I had googled the type of beans to buy and found that Goya sold “Central American Beans”. I didn’t find anything that said Central America on the package, so I ended up with red kidney beans in a can. I cooked these and mixed them with jasmine rice (a family favorite) and some onion. Not exactly the way the Nicaraguans do it, but it tasted good nonetheless.
These beans would have probably tasted better:
The breakfast was a big hit. I should have taken a picture of it. My boys didn’t even mind that I didn’t add my regular oregano and cheese to their scrambled eggs. Biz, as per usual, ate about 6 pieces of watermelon. As an added bonus, I got to use the leftover beans and rice for taco night.
The best part of our Nicaraguan-style breakfast? Having the boys ask me more about my trip and what I learned about the culture there. I love that they are still interested in the way people live there. Their curiosity opens up discussion about how lucky we are to have the things we do. How keeping things simple and appreciating the little things in life can make us feel happy and content.