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  1. #1
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    Question Why all the Salt, Sopita, Sugar, dyes, & big veg

    OK--Can someone PLEASE tell me what the deal is in this country with the obsessional use of salt, "sopita" or Maggi (pre-packaged super concentrated salty flavoring cubes) and sugar? I have had two housekeepers go into total tizzy fits when we run out of "Sopita" because they have NO idea how to flavor food without it. I've tried so hard to be patient and explain that herbs, limones, things like Rum, beer, etc. can be used to flavor foods without the negative consequences of so much salt (the alcohol burns off on the rum and beer, btw.) I think it stems from the salt obsession (which may be the cause of the rampant hypertension I see). Our current housekeeper takes a heaping spoon of salt and puts it on ONE egg (Gag). Dh went on an eating strike until I took away the salt from her to make the point NOT to put salt in our food (so she made up for it with the sopita/Maggi. Is it the advertising, lack of education on cooking and the health effects of certain things?

    Then there's the sugar obsession but the US has that too.

    While I'm at it...artificial dyes are a really big thing here. Even the cleaning supplies have to be dayglo. Maybe someone can clue me in on that one too especially since I've noticed on the S side of the island there is a distinct preference for all things WHITE when compared with anything avialable tan or darker. For example, it is impossible to find Brown Rice (arroz integral) in large bags and virtually none of the locals know how to cook it (they even call it arroz malo. The same is true for bread. Pan integral is seen as inferior. I've been trying to increase fiber in the orphanage staff diet).

    One more thing...why do vendors always want to sell me the LARGEST vegetables (and even in the prepackaged stores this is all that is available)? I really find zanahorias/carrots the size of my femur to be tough and tasteless so I used them as dog bones (our golden retriever loves them and sits down holding one between his paws and chomps right on thru). Pepinos/Cucumbers are the same--the large ones are pithy and not nearly as flavorful, plus they are bitter.

    Thanks for any and all insight on these...humor invited.
    Paz y salud,
    DrChrisHe
    Last edited by DrChrisHE; 02-01-2008 at 10:19 AM. Reason: subscribing to thread

  2. #2
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    I think much of the cooking and spicing of the local dishes can explained by two things: economics, and maybe more influential, that´s what they have seen before.

    I remember my girlfriend cooking rice in my house and putting a plastic bag on top of the rice in the pot. I explained that because I actually had a lid for the pot that the bag wasn´t neccessary, and she retorted that her mother always put the bag there because it helps cook the rice more quickly.!!

  3. #3
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    Blame it on the Buccaneers that made salt the base of all cooking in the DR...
    One Dominican at a time please!


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by fightfish View Post
    I think much of the cooking and spicing of the local dishes can explained by two things: economics, and maybe more influential, that´s what they have seen before.

    I remember my girlfriend cooking rice in my house and putting a plastic bag on top of the rice in the pot. I explained that because I actually had a lid for the pot that the bag wasn´t neccessary, and she retorted that her mother always put the bag there because it helps cook the rice more quickly.!!
    She's right! The use of a plastic to cover the rice under the lid, will in turn provide a rudimentary "expansion chamber" where the extra vapor will collect and using the plastic "properties" as it expands to hold the build up of vapors without letting it escape as the lid is built for, would in turn have made the time shorter to cook the rice...

    Lids will keep popping allowing the extra vapor to escape and never forms a seal around the lip of the pot; whereareas the plastic does the trick best!

    Think of it like a rudimentary pressure cooker, where you want to use vapor pressure to cook meals faster and tender as possible.

    The same goes for boiling corn in pots, you can use the left over wraps from the corn to cover the pot and use the natural properties of the covers to elevate the temperature much more efficient than using the lid alone...
    One Dominican at a time please!


  5. #5
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    Default 365 Days......

    Sazón Líquido Ranchero rulezzzzzzz....

    If you go to a 'comedor' normally there's the 'bandera' choice of 'res, pollo, cerdo', sometimes 'chivo'.
    The taste of the meat part is almost always the same...... plus a lot of cooking oil on it.
    Real cooking is 'muy incómodo'....

    Janin

  6. #6
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    maybe cuz it tastes good?

  7. #7
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    convenience and marketing

  8. #8
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    Another thing that plays a major part in the cooking and purchasing habits of Dominicans is lack of consitant refridgeration. Mayonaise, for instance, or mayonaise based salads are not encountered often because they cant keep for more than one meal. Same goes for meats. This might explain the daily or hourly trek to the colmado for many folks. I used to buy live chickens just so they would keep until we were ready to 'use them'.

  9. #9
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    Default mas es mejor...

    I know how you fell Dr.
    when i go to the market I try to pick the smallest vegetables even here in teh US, because to me those huge vegetable don't look normal, too much growth chemicals or whatever it is.

    There is a sugar obsession, Dominicans use heaps of sugar for anything they need to sweeten, they think the more the better.

    It all boils down to education, this is how people have learned to prepare their foods and they don't give it a second thought, people need to be educated.

  10. #10
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    Well, my mother in law does most of the cooking in our house, and she used to make liberal with the salt, but now, she looks with less salt and sugar, but still adds it to her own dish after. She has always used plenty of fresh garlic, italian herbs, peppers, black pepper, hot sauce...etc. She often bakes chicken in the oven which is incredible and always skins the chicken if she frys it, so I guess she with her grade six education is more educated than the average. If your cook doesn't cook the way you want, get rid of them.

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