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  1. #1
    Rest In Peace Lindsay
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    Default ONLY LADIES H is for Hambre and Habichuelas con Dulce

    Letter H in the A to Z of the Dominican Republic series and I couldn't decide between these two, so decided to write about both of them.

    Hambre means hunger, and when I used to think of people being hungry, I thought of Africa and deserts, millions of people with no food or water anywhere, not a Caribbean island rich in agriculture, fruit and vegetables, coffee and cocoa, meat and fish. I could bore you with figures from the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the UN and a whole host more, but suffice it to say that in the Dominican Republic 29% of people are below the poverty line and the same number again just above it. The problem starts at birth, as breast feeding is not the norm. Some say due to culture, some that the women think it will destroy their figures, some that they need to be seen to buy formula as it shows they are rich and only the poor breast feed. Formula is expensive and needs to be mixed with clean water. Many use well water to mix it, some use flour and water so it looks like formula, and other such concoctions. The children are not starving, but they are hungry and malnourished. From 1940 to 1989 UNICEF states that 265,000 Dominican children died of malnutrition. The problem continues through life. It is not that there is no food, it is that it is expensive compared to the income levels. More than 2 million Dominicans live on less than US$2 a day - that is for everything not just for food. And a significant percentage have only a little more than that. The main meal is eaten at noon, and is usually rice and beans and a small amount of meat. No green vegetables, occasionally a little salad. And very little real nourishment. This is the way of life for most of the population, and has an effect on the cultural differences when someone who has never suffered from hunger marries a Dominican who has.

    I am used to shopping for at least a week at a time, which is what I did when I was first with my husband and his kids. Big mistake, as the kids would eat everything on the day I brought it home from the supermarket. Investigation revealed that they believe that if there is food there you eat it as you do not know when there will be food again. I would buy a pack of 6 oranges - gone in 10 minutes. Another slightly annoying habit is to eat all the peanut butter, or whatever and then leave the jar in the fridge so it looks like it has not been eaten. They would always leave a tiny amount behind though! Juice cartons with a centimetre of juice left in them, the same for the milk, and the chocolate wrapper beautifully arranged to hide the fact that there was only one square left. They found it impossible to eat one biscuit from a packet, one toffee from a box, they all had to be eaten straight away. And given that they had never eaten vegetables it was very hard to make them start and to educate them on the benefit of vitamins.

    The food issues spread through all events. At weddings or dinners you eat at the very end of the event, as if you eat early then people will leave as soon as they have eaten, so you must always remember to eat before you go out or spend all evening very hungry or very drunk as the drink flows and on an empty stomach it is not wise. Speeches are before the food not afterwards and I have been to upmarket dinners where the event started at 7pm and we eventually ate at around 11pm

    I have no idea what the solution is, and there are several discussions and meetings happening at high levels on a daily basis to try and solve the malnutrition and hunger issues here. But how can it be that in a country so rich in food from the land and the sea, so many people are hungry?

    Moving on to a happier topic - habichuelas con dulce - sweet beans literally. This is a famous sort of thick, sweet bean soup or drink which everyone eats at Easter time. it seems that everywhere you look someone is slurping it. If you don't cook it yourself then you will not be short of it as every neighbour will bring you a plastic cup of theirs. Personally it is not really my cup of tea, but I have never found a Dominican who does not love it. It is made of beans, raisins, sugar, coconut milk, evaporated milk and sweet potatoes. Some add cinnamon, some cloves, some all spice, but every family has their own recipe. Many put little rich tea biscuits floating on the top here. For those who want to give it a try, here is a recipe https://www.dominicancooking.com/979...med-beans.html

    Matilda
    Moderator Ladies Only & North West Forums


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  3. #2
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    I happen to like habichuelas con dulce, and also habas con dulce (made with fava beans instead of red beans). 

    Reading your hambre post, I had a flashback to our maid (we live in campo) who told me one day “There are a lot of hungry  people here”. I hadn’t really considered that some of our neighbors lacked food until then. After that day, we made an effort to buy a bit extra every time we shopped, to share, but on an erratic basis.  A chicken here or there, beef or pork chunks, bags of staples (rice, beans, powdered milk, cereal, Etc), a treat (chocolate, cookies, cupcakes) occasionally.  Never cash, as it often ends up buying a bottle of rum.

    The most common H for me is definitely plain old habichuelas. Dominicans eat them A LOT. I’m partial to black beans myself, but whatever kind, we usually eat them almost daily in DR.  In the US, maybe once a week, if that.  

    Another H is horneado......baked/roasted/rotisseried chicken mostly.  We have a rotisserie attachment for our gas grill, and the chicken comes out great!  

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  5. #3
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    Higuera calabash gourds and Hispaniola Hummingbirds are my choices for "H". Taino Indians used the gourds for utensils and nowadays Dominican crafters use them for lampshades and decorative containers. In Cabarete there is a talented woman from Germany who decoupages the inside of the gourd with Taino designs for sale at craft fairs.

    The hummingbirds are so much larger than those from my part of the US. The emerald green iridescent feathers make them extra beautiful. Sadly, they frequently conk their heads on my glass sliders. Just last week I revived one by gently scooping it up with a fly swatter. I slowly moved him up & down until he came around and fly off. Hummingbird CPR improvised!

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  7. #4
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    My favorite..helado. I can remember years ago enjoying helado Bon (not so much now). There wasn't really another ice cream place around when I first started visiting the Dominican Republic (prior to moving here). I have been told that helado Bon as been around for over 45 years.

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  9. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abuela View Post
    Higuera calabash gourds and Hispaniola Hummingbirds are my choices for "H". Taino Indians used the gourds for utensils and nowadays Dominican crafters use them for lampshades and decorative containers. In Cabarete there is a talented woman from Germany who decoupages the inside of the gourd with Taino designs for sale at craft fairs.

    The hummingbirds are so much larger than those from my part of the US. The emerald green iridescent feathers make them extra beautiful. Sadly, they frequently conk their heads on my glass sliders. Just last week I revived one by gently scooping it up with a fly swatter. I slowly moved him up & down until he came around and fly off. Hummingbird CPR improvised!
    We have lots of hummingbirds on our finca, but they are very dark, not pretty at all.  I put out a feeder for them, so they come right up to the house, occasionally one of them has a bit of green iridescence

     
    Quote Originally Posted by keepcoming View Post
    My favorite..helado. I can remember years ago enjoying helado Bon (not so much now). There wasn't really another ice cream place around when I first started visiting the Dominican Republic (prior to moving here). I have been told that helado Bon as been around for over 45 years.


    How did I forget helado?  Good one keepcoming!  Mr AE’s brother had a Bon franchise for side income, some flavors much better than others. 

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  11. #6
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    Default The letter H

    I am not a fan of habichuelas con dulce, but I am a fan of habichuelas con arroz.

    I would also have to include my great friend Humberto, as a great representative of the letter H.

    While not exactly a fan of hormigas, I would have to say that no discussion of things Dominican is complete without a mention of same.

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