Cooking is usually somewhat therapeutic for me. I like the idea of coming home after a long day and making myself a nice meal. These days though, it has been a bit different. You know that cooking show iron chef? Where the chefs have to make like a 5 course meal in less than 1 hour, lately I feel like I am on that show. Let me tell you why.
This past month or so the weather has been getting really hot in Juticalpa. We’re talkin’ 90 every day with some days going up to 100. This is normal for Honduran summer, but it means that the power also becomes less reliable due to the lines overheating. During the day it is not uncommon to have the power go out sporadically and even for a few hours at a time. In the evening too it is also pretty common to loose power. Often times around 6pm the power will go off and stay off for 2-3 hours. On Mondays this is a normal occurrence, but during these hot months it happens a few times a week.
The time that the power usually goes out happens to be the time that I am just about finishing up cooking my dinner. I have felt the last few weeks like I am on the cooking show Iron Chef racing against the clock to get my meal cooked. Let me tell you, it’s not as fun as the show makes it seem. Numerous times I have been left with a half preheated oven or a half cooked batch of rice or pasta on the stove when the power decides to go out. Things would be different if we had a gas stove, but unfortunately we have electric which leaves me high and dry each and every time.
This really wasn’t a surprise to me though coming to developing country where the infrastructure and organization pales in comparison to developed countries. Some villages don’t even have power so living in a city where most of the time we have electricity really is a privilege. Despite the inconvenience there are a few upsides. Most businesses and restaurants around town have generators so they can remain open during power outages so it is a good time to get some grocery shopping done. It is also a nice time to leave the world of electronics and Internet behind and talk with people. Most of the time my housemates and I go outside, where it isn’t so hot, and chat for a few hours. Some of our housemates use the time to work on their Spanish or read.
If nothing else these outages make us much more appreciative of the times that we have power, which is most of the time. I have also discovered the feeling of accomplishment that the Iron Chefs must feel when they finish cooking their meal just as the time ends. It is oddly satisfying sitting in the dark eating a nice meal you prepared just before the power to goes out.