Welcome to The Gringa’s Kitchen

We moved to Costa Rica almost two years ago and began our blog, “Bums in Costa Rica,” shortly thereafter. Because we made this move so deep into retirement, there were many questions. “Why would you do that?,” “How can you speak?” “ Do you know Spanish?” were just a few.

North Americans coming to Costa Rica have many different reasons for settling here. We came for many. Economics played a big part, lifestyle, which includes weather, community styles, geography, etc., did also. We decided to find our place and learn a new culture, without judging other expats’ reasons for being here. We’re all fortunate to be able to live an adventurous life.

Our first year and a half were almost tourist-driven. We saw new places, new things, met many different people, and enjoyed ourselves. Gradually, however, we’ve settled into a lifestyle of just being home. We still travel, try to check out new things, and enjoy this wonderful land and culture. But now, it’s where we live.

Both of us have been “foodies” for most of our lives. Loraine has always been a great cook and baker. Lou enjoys checking out new recipes and tastes. After the usual run through the restaurant scene, we became more interested in the day-to-day cuisine served in Tico homes and local eateries. It has been an educational experience.

This space can’t hold all of the things we’ve learned. Over the future blogs, we’ll go into detail with recipes and ideas. First, though, some general points. Costa Rica is a land full of more fresh fruits and vegetables than we’ve ever been exposed to. Poultry, beef, pork, and seafood are abundant, often with different flavors than US products. Spices and flavors vary somewhat, but Costa Rican cooks are adept at setting a satisfying and tasteful table.

The main difficulty for an expat cook is that it will be different. Names are different, sizes are different, even packaging is different. Lou made three trips to the grocery store to find ketchup. When he learned that here it’s called salsa de tomate and comes in a plastic pouch, rather than a bottle, it was head-slapping time.

Our blog is designed to show both expat cooks living here and perhaps ones who are still in the US planning their move, how to adapt to the new food culture. Also, we hope to show Tico cooks that we have some ideas that could be integrated into their standard fare.

Each blog will discuss an area of ingredients, cooking, purchasing, or other facets of cuisine. We’ll follow that with a recipe using the ingredients discussed. All will be archived for later use. You can also comment on any part of the blog. We’ll also highlight our latest adventure, whether it’s at the beach or watching the Poas Volcano let us know who’s boss!