If detailed imagery is to the mind as rich food is to the palate, the people and landscapes of Colombia are nourishment enough for an entire world. But because food is what truly nourishes the body, one of the easiest ways for me to channel Colombia is to engage with the ingredients, smells and flavors of Colombian food.
As my South Dakota city grows, it’s easier than ever to find a the variety of ingredients needed to make Colombian food; occasionally, even the fruits of the country make it to market shelves.
Recently, I saw the ugly guanabana at a local grocery store. Creamy white on the inside, soft and sweet, the fruit is popular in milkshakes, ice cream and breads in Colombia.
But the guanabana breaks down quickly and must be used within a few days of being cut into. I didn’t buy the chunks I saw–although I wanted to have a taste, it’s one of the fruits I’d prefer to look forward to and savor when I’m in the country.
Now, I have no problem cutting into a mango when I need one (their golden flesh and sweet tang make me feel like I’m eating sunshine), the guanabana is a special treat to be had when I’m back in Colombia, something akin to letting grandma make her special casserole instead of attempting to co-opt the flavor in your own kitchen.