I had heard of tres leches cake before, but I had never had occasion to try it until our recent lunch at El Chalan in Washington, DC. Tres leches cake, or the cake of three milks, is a popular dessert in the Americas, and it is exactly as its name suggests. Basically, it is a sponge cake soaked in a mixture of three different types of milk: condensed, evaporated, and whole.
The slice that we shared, which had a drizzle of chocolate syrup on top, was delicious. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and had a thick cornbread-like consistency that helped to keep it from sogging under the milk. I really liked it, and I will probably try to see if I can make it myself one of these days.
Before we went to the National Geographic museum last week, we decided to check out a Peruvian restaurant called El Chalan. I went out of my comfort zone and tried a dish I’ve never had before: cabrito norteno….otherwise known as goat stew. Yup, I ate goat.
My stew arrived all pretty before I stirred it all together to combine the meat with the beans, rice, onions, and beer sauce. The flavor was very reminiscent of lamb (or chicken, if you ask my husband), and it was very different from anything else I’ve had before. It was gamey and earthy and vingerary, and I enjoyed it, particularly once I realized that I needed to be careful of the bones mixed in there. Spitting out a big hunk of goat bone is not, as it happens, super refined or attractive. Good thing Bee likes me anyway!
One of the reasons that we chose the agency that we did was because they regularly offer classes and workshops for their adoptive parents. As a geeky librarian, easy access to education was an exciting prospect for me. This past Saturday, Bee and I signed up to take a three-hour workshop about adopting toddlers internationally. We don’t yet know the ages of our children, but since we approved from birth to age 8, it seemed like a good idea to prepare for a variety of ages.
It’s by far the best class we have had so far, as it specifically dealt with traveling to meet your child, what to expect in the early weeks of becoming a family, what kinds of behaviors are typical in institutionalized children, how to communicate with a child who doesn’t share your language, and more. The first two hours were presented by one of the agency’s staff members, and the last hour was presented by two adoptive mothers.
Here are some of our big takeaways:
In addition to the letters I received this week, I also got a big update on how Ronaldo, the little Peruvian boy I sponsor, is doing this year.
When it rains, it pours letters from overseas! All at once, my mailbox was filled with backdated correspondence from my sponsored Peruvian child Ronaldo. As always, I was delighted to hear from him—checking the mailbox is a lot more fun when there’s the chance that you might get a real live letter.
The first one wished me a happy birthday and reported that Peru was very cold and rainy during that time of year (May).
The second, from June, wished me and Bee a happy anniversary and responded to the letter that I sent him about getting to meet a dolphin at the Baltimore Aquarium. Though Ronaldo hasn’t seen any dolphins where he lives, he has encountered jellyfish, crabs, octopus, and fish. I loved the word for jellyfish, which is malagua (“bad water”) and makes perfect sense!
In the mail, I also received an annual progress report on Ronaldo and his community, which I’ll share in the next few days. The next time I write to him, I’m going to try to pen my letter completely in Spanish so I can get some practice! We’ll see how well that goes.