Sunday, June 20, 2010


The photo above is of a very large (larger than it appears in the photo) bowl of mango salsa. We had a BBQ yesterday - one last little get-together before heading off on R&R this week. The mangoes have been so amazing I figured mango salsa was a must. I was able to get 6 perfect mangoes from the frutero on the corner. Funny thing is, you don't actually have to buy mangoes here if you don't want to. There are a couple of 20+ foot mango trees on the grounds of my office - I pick up at least one every day.

I was doing a bit of calculating - my total cost for a giant bowl of mango salsa was about $150 pesos - that's around $4. The same salsa would have cost me around $12 at home. And yet, if I were to buy a pack of, let's say, veggie burgers here it would set me back around $10. I long ago gave up on creating a veggie burger that was worth the time and effort. I mean, the whole point of veggie burgers, in my opinion, is ease of preparation.

Making these calculations is such a big part of the FS life. What do I need now? What can I do without? Is it worth the money? I have written about this before. What I am finding interesting now is that the longer we are here, the less and less I make these calculations. With time we are just starting to live completely present with the food that we have here. This isn't a consumables post, but at this moment it's difficult for me to imagine preparing for a consumables post by stocking up on endless "necessities" at Costco. Who knows where our next post will be - maybe I will feel differently, but I do wonder where exactly one begins in the grand consumables shopping spree. I mean toilet paper and pasta might be on my list some day, but would peanut butter and cereal really make it? How does one decide to buy a two-year supply of cereal? Why does one decide to buy a two-year supply of cereal?

Presently, I have decided that as long as I have rice, vegetables and some form of protein I will do just fine, but this has taken time and patience. And at the end of the day, we can actually get almost anything here. As a result, I don't really have to live with that looming sense of "what will we eat?" Everything in degrees I guess. I have a friend who traveled in Mongolia for a few weeks. All they had was mutton. Now that would definitely send me straight for Costco...

But, back to mango salsa. If you want to make some, here's how:

Mango Salsa

Six ripe mangoes diced
One red onion finely diced
One red bell pepper finely diced
Two Serrano peppers, minced (leave the seeds in if you want it extra spicy. If not, scrape out the seeds)
A handful of cilantro or culantro
Juice of two limes
Salt to taste

Mix it all up and, if possible, refrigerate for about two hours before serving


  1. The consumables shopping is intimidating. I started by annoying my sponsor to no end by asking tons of questions, and getting the consumables list from the CLO. The frustrating thing is I won't know until we get there in a few months if I bought things we really need. Hoping for the best.

  2. funny that you should write this- last night I came home from the grocery store and had bought like 6 packs of morningstar veggie burgers bec they are a staple for us and they were on sale, and I was thinking, crap, what would I do w/o them? But of course, I would be just fine!

  3. That's a great perspective. I'm in the middle of figuring what to bring to Nicaragua right now. Two years without honey nut cheerios might actually be good for me!

  4. Hi! I am going to de-lurk and tell you that I love your blog. The 2 kinds of blogs that I like are food blogs and FS blogs, and I found your blog because of one of your recipe posts. I spent 2 years in Austin (attending St. Stephen's) so I appreciate your blog theme! Anyway, I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala and I make videos for the local news channel about healthy cooking using local ingredients. We featured your recipe for mango salsa a few weeks ago...I hope that it's okay! Thanks for the great recipe. Keep up your blogging. Here's the link to the video:

  5. Hi Jodi,

    Where did you find the red bell and serrano peppers and the cilantro in Tana? I've been looking for all three of these and can't seem to find them in the main grocery stores. Thanks!