It’s hard to be a picky kid.
Your parents just don’t get that you’re a ninja: a fierce defender against the tastes and textures that are out to get you. In your case, it’s soft, squishy, spicy, soupy. Stewed zucchini? Slash! Ripe papaya? Kick! Anything that’s been grazed by a tomato? Pow!
On top of that, they’re always watching for clues. It has something to do with your two countries. When you push away cubaces or picadillo de papa, it seems to mean more. You’ve seen so many flashes of disappointment on old faces.
Sometimes life seems like a series of enemy plates.
One day on a trip, perusing a fat menu at a rancho where a grandma like yours presides over all the tables, you see a dish you remember from a cold day at school. “Sopa negra, por favor,” you say. Those old faces turn to you in delight. “Really?”
They smile through the steam as you spoon in your rice—splash! And mush up the egg—sploof! “I love it!” you say. There are cows outside the window. There is rain in the clouds, ready to keep you all inside for coffee after lunch.
When they think you aren’t looking, your parents high five.
Adults are so weird.
Inspired by Emma Jane Obando Stanley and her new favorite, sopa negra. (Thank you, Rancho de Ceci in Zarcero. Seriously: thank you.) Our weekly Media Naranja column tells short love stories with a Costa Rican twist. During our May edition, “Food that Roots Us,” we’re focusing on Costa Ricans’ relationship with their own cuisine.