Tuesday, April 19, 2011

¿Quién sea La Anita?

My kitchen has countertops now! And the stove is in its new home, I have plumbing, and I have a dishwasher. (Dishwashers are magical! Why didn’t anyone tell me?)

My stuff is still in boxes in the basement, but I rummaged around and found enough pots, pans, utensils, and spices to make an inaugural chicken dinner.

Which, um, I cooked on the grill.

Well, I painted all day, OK?! And besides, it is all clean and beautiful in there. It still feels like a museum or a shrine, too special to mess up with spatters and drips.

I wanted to do something interesting to the chicken; but I haven’t been grocery shopping in a while, so I don’t have the usual deep bench of ingredients in the fridge. I dug through my “Spice Cabinet” box until I found something interesting:

I am ashamed to tell you how long ago I bought this box of achiote powder. But I am not ashamed to tell you WHY I bought it. Look at her!

I like food packaging that has pictures of women. La Contadina from the tomato paste can; the wheat farmer on the De Cecco pasta box; the mother and daughter that used to be on Amy’s Kitchen packages. I like their expressions of abundance, generosity, and the friendly pride of a good cook issuing an invitation to a meal she knows her guest will enjoy.

But La Anita? She is a little off.

First of all, she floats alone on her orangey-pink background. The De Cecco lady strides through her wheat field, Amy feeds her daughter a taste right from the stove, but where is La Anita’s context? Why is she holding that enormous roast bird? Dios mio, it’s as big as she is. For what occasion did she cook it? Where is the hot kitchen in which she labored to prepare it? Where are the half-dozen other people who cooked with her? Where is the family who will help her eat it?

Second, what are we to make of that look on her face? The tightened lips, the narrowed eyes, the arched brows… is it a smile? A smirk? Is she about to sneer? Is she barely keeping it together under the strain of holding that ostrich en achiote?

Who is she?

¿Quién sea La Anita?

Well whoever she is, I wish I’d tried her achiote paste a lot sooner because it is easy and adds good flavor to barbecued chicken. Thanks, weird lady.


  1. ¿Quién ES La Anita?

  2. It's my blog, pumpkin, and I'll wonder whom someone could be if I want.


Thanks for your comments - nothing scatological, please. If you wouldn't bring it in the kitchen, please don't say it here.